• I think the change from print to digital for books (and music, photo, and consumer software already done) is mostly driven by retail store closings, especially when a major chain like Borders or CompUSA or Fotomat disappears faster than anyone saw coming. I don’t hear much about “ownership” issues from the readers I know but a significant loss of retail will be as devastating for print books as it was for the other altered industries. Just speculation of course, but one needs to look 5-10 years out and realize “recent performance is not a great indication of future results.” But even the retail recent performance numbers for stores still open is not encouraging. Thanks for your post.

  • I think Boarders closing was primarily due to a few things. A bloated retail chain that couldn’t adapt to the changing climate of bookselling, the fact they never developed their own e-reader or eBook store, they just sold Kindles, Kobos and other peoples devices (slim margins) and people aren’t buying as many books as they used to.

  • Probably just too many book superstores to meet the demand, agreed. I do walk into some indie and chain stores these years in America and feel all the non-book merchandise they have added to their mix just plays into the hands of shopping on Amazon. Many of the university stores have outstanding “intelligent book” selections (e.g., depth of offerings in philosophy, fiction, psych, etc.) in addition to the popular books everyone has, but the other stores I visit are mostly too limited in their book selection and leave me bored with all that non-book merch. It’s a tough biz all around, no doubt.

  • recently i gave up on eBooks due to the inherent problems with book discovery and the fact that too many indie published titles are flooding the market, breaking the system. Since then, i have been in my local indigo/chapters almost twice a week buying books. I have noticed for example, a large area on the second floor devoted to American Girl dolls, pillows, wine glasses, snuggies, and all this other stuff you would find at Pier 1 Imports. I guess bookselling on its own isn’t that profitable anymore.

  • It never was all that profitable. I went down with a great indie bookstore in Boston way back in 1983. But a small store with a great selection and a smart owner operator who loves books can make it work as long as the labor costs are kept to a minimum, as in the owner needs to work the store.

  • Jim

    This an interesting post. Nobody seems to have mentioned devices as a barrier for e overtaking p. Look to the right of this page. It is a mind boggling choice and hardly any one of them works another for e. With p, however, the same device(s) work with every single book on the planet. Sharing is simple: You just hand it over. Job done. Most people I know are what I call heavy readers and they all embraced ebooks. So easy, so many etc etc. At first the comments were that they’d never go back to print. Now they are embracing print and using ebook merely for the “read-once and bin/give away/donate” titles or for travelling. They also now buy print for the ones they want to keep. I’m one of them and even though I own six different e-reading devices (yea , I know) I have shelves full of printed books. Even researchers are doing it hence why Print on Demand is growing so much……and anyway, who cares how we read, as long as we read ? Let’s please stop predicting what format is going to smother another and say thank you to the authors, booksellers and publishers who make it all happen.

  • Jim

    This an interesting post. Nobody seems to have mentioned devices as a barrier for e overtaking p. Look to the right of this page. It is a mind boggling choice and hardly any one of them works another for e. With p, however, the same device(s) work with every single book on the planet. Sharing is simple: You just hand it over. Job done. Most people I know are what I call heavy readers and they all embraced ebooks. So easy, so many etc etc. At first the comments were that they’d never go back to print. Now they are embracing print and using ebook merely for the “read-once and bin/give away/donate” titles or for travelling. They also now buy print for the ones they want to keep. I’m one of them and even though I own six different e-reading devices (yea , I know) I have shelves full of printed books. Even researchers are doing it hence why Print on Demand is growing so much……and anyway, who cares how we read, as long as we read ? Let’s please stop predicting what format is going to smother another and say thank you to the authors, booksellers and publishers who make it all happen.

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