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General Chat > Traditional book-sellers falling victim to new technologies

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann Massey (flyingfinish) | 10 comments Borders/Angus&Robertson: the first to fall victim to the internet

This week we heard the news that Angus & Robertson have gone into receivership, a victim to new technology. My gut feeling is that what's happened to Borders/A&R is only the tip of the iceberg.Prediction: the impact of the internet on traditional publishers and book-sellers will be of similar magnitude to Caxton's press which wiped out the illuminated book industry.

In a pincer manoeuvre,book-sellers are being attacked on two fronts by e-books and on-line shopping. Since my daughter, late thirties bought a Kindle, she has given up buying books. At a third of the cost of a paperback, she is reading more than ever. But it's not just Generation X & Y that are eschewing book stores.

Yesterday, during our lunch break, I helped a female teacher, (well past retirement age), to down load 'Loeb's Life of the Caesars Vol 2'." Now, as you can tell from the title, it's not the sort of book that you're likely to find in your local book store, so my friend was delighted to learn that she would receive the book in just 7 days. What a huge saving in time and frustration. But on top of that, by using Book Depository, she paid just $25.95 as opposed to $45.00 and there was no freight charge. I won't be surprised if she buys all her text books online from now on.

More and more book sellers and book stores will go the way of Borders/A&R - it's regrettable but that's the price we pay for progress. The printing press put a handful of monks out of business and an army of printers were made redundant when offset printing replaced lino-type so, inevitably there will be causalities as on-line shopping and e-books becomes the norm. But life is always moving forward, always changing. Trying to stem online shopping and e-books is as useless as trying to halt a volcano with a stop sign.

message 2: by Karendenice (new)

Karendenice This is just too sad. Years ago I had a favorite non-chain bookstore that I frequented. I got to know the owners and they got to know me and my daughter. They always put back books that they thought we would enjoy. It was such fun to go in there and stay awhile. And I love the smell and feel of real books. I hate to say I but I do own a Nook. I'd rather read an actual book but with the price of books rising and ebooks being so much easier on the pocketbook I just couldn't say no. However, ther are some actual books that I will still purchase and if I like it enough to re-read I will continue to buy the actual books.

message 3: by Almeta (last edited Feb 20, 2011 04:36AM) (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 182 comments I also miss my local bookstore(s). And just noticed yesterday that a neighboring Walden Books had closed.

I do not want to imagine not buying books for my library. Love the smell and feel of a new book.

I have, however, had to start being chosy about what authors I will continue to buy. "What books will I read over and over again?" "What will happen to the ones I own when I am gone?" "Will anyone in the family want them or appreciate them?"

As a consequence I buy less and borrow more, and am liquidating several shelves. When an auction house took tons (literally!) away, and sold them in "box lots", you could hear my heart crack.

For experimental reading, I just invested in a Nook. Eating my words: "I'll never read electronically".

message 4: by Sally (new)

Sally | 38 comments I love actual physical books but I don't have room in my house for more. I've been trying to weed them and have given many to my local used book stores but I also bought a Kindle. I do enjoy it but I will always buy some "real" books. It just gives me the opportunity to have room on my shelves for the "keepers." I don't keep or share every novel I read so this gives me the opportunity to buy more books without having them take over every square inch of my house. At the same time I would hate to see our local bookstore, Prairie Lights, go out of business so I will continue to buy books there.

message 5: by Bill, Co-Moderator (new)

Bill | 5421 comments Mod
I haven't had any desire to buy a Kindle or any e-book type aparatus (me = luddite when it comes to books). I like to have books on my shelves, I like the feel of a book in my hands, I like the covers and everything about books. Maybe sometime in the future, but I pray and hope that physical books are always available...

message 6: by Donald (new)

Donald Grant (drdon1996) | 122 comments The irony of all this is that the bookstores that will be left standing are going to be the independent mom and pop stores that the chains tried to wipe out. There will always be printed books. While I am also a reader that loves the feel of a book in my hand, I did find that once I started using an e-reader if the book was good, I lost track of the medium.
The other positive note is the new trend is going to break the tradition of authors being at the mercy of agents and publishers, and will generate more income directly to the authors.
Like anything new there are good and bad sides, my feeling is the good will outweigh the bad

message 7: by stan (new)

stan (stanthewiseman) | 141 comments Good Morning
I too have a great sadness when a book store closes. We had a Chain of stores called "Borders " in England they have gone. Yes, in agreement with other members I to love the smell and touch of the book especially a new edition with it's jacket, no, I am not a snob. I have been brought to love the printed word.I have passed this down to my daughter who also loves books and indeed is a copy writer.When I was a great deal younger I had a job in a book store _ This was when Ian Fleming's James Bond was first published . What a fool! I Should have bought some copies.
No, No to E- books , but there you go, Am I a Luddite?

message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann Massey (flyingfinish) | 10 comments People will always want physical books but I think it's inevitable that the number of book stores will decrease. More and more buying paperbacks on line is going to become the norm.

*Suzy (ereaderuser)* (suzyereaderuser) I got my ereader in April. Since then I've only purchased one hardback book, which was a X-mas gift for my 75 year old dad. And I've only read one paperback, which was a book my daughter owned and really wanted me to read. I have however purchased 107 ebooks. I don't think I'll ever purchase another paperback novel. I would read them and then donate them to the local library. Now I still own my books. I do collect hardback reference books on exotic finches, and will continue to do so. I still enjoy browsing my local book store and hope real books will always be available.

message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann Massey (flyingfinish) | 10 comments Me too.

message 11: by Beth (new)

Beth | 408 comments I think the booksellers that will survive will be the ones that do more than sell books. Barnes & Noble, with the Nook, is looking more and more like a Best Buy store when I walk in, but that will help at least some of its brick-and-mortar stores survive. Also, independents which offer food/coffee, toys, cards or other side items and become local community gathering places should survive.

message 12: by Scott (new)

Scott Nicholson (scottnicholson) | 56 comments I just find it hard to be sad about all the changes, especially as an author. We went from a costly, clumsy system where writers were earning the least money of anyone involved to a system where readers and writers could basically determine their own prices and values for the content.

I appreciate my nostalgia and that of others for all the print books I have loved, but all I truly care about is the story and the experiences they gave me. The words themselves, not the form. And I suspect those stories will be around, or other equally valuable stories, as long as we are on this planet.

And I agree, this is the best thing that could have happened for indie bookstores!


message 13: by Gary (last edited Feb 26, 2011 01:11PM) (new)

Gary Proctor | 20 comments Here Here Scott! I totally agree. Take a look at what it has done for Randolph Lalonde and his Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins series. He self published for a long time and had a small devoted following, but since he went to ebook and then offered the first in the series as a free download, it has taken off to the point where he can now afford for his next book to be professionally edited.

Things change and for reasons. If there is a reason for the "Traditional" they will survive.

I disagree with Ann. I don't believe that people will always want paperbacks. I have not bought one since getting my Kindle and I know many others are the same. The younger generation will feel even more this way. It's like saying people will always want records or cassettes or VHS instead of CD's and DVD's.

Can you imagine if textbooks were on e-readers? School districts could probably get great deals to buy them in bulk and it would make economic sense since the physical publishing costs would go way down. No more bulky, back-breaking backpacks for the students. If a novel was assigned, it would be automatically downloaded to their reader as could assignments.

I think we are just beginning to see what this technology has to offer. Just like the pdf and email replaced much of the Fax content a few years ago, I think e-books will replace paper.

message 14: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Coffey (megthered) | 6 comments I love bookstores and libraries. I always felt comfortable and at home at our local bookstore. Then they closed and I was so sad. I now own a Nook and haven't bought a book in quite a while. My husband and I are going to full time RV'ing so we won't have room anyway, and I do really love my Nook. I am wondering if in the future, books will be like currency and a real book will be a precious thing.

message 15: by Gary (new)

Gary Proctor | 20 comments Peggy,
I agree about bookstores and what I think of with regard to this is places like Starbucks. That is, a good place to sit and read and maybe have a coffee or sandwich. I used to have to drop my son off at scouts and wait around for him and that is where I would go. I would sit and read a book in a nice comfortable chair with wireless available and music playing..This may be something of the way things go.

message 16: by Beth (new)

Beth | 408 comments Since I'm in the throes of arranging signings for my March 8th release, Deadly Currents, I had another thought. If most of the brick-and-mortar bookstores go away, where will readers be able to meet their favorite authors face-to-face any more? Yes, there are library events sometimes, but those are usually multi-author events and they are few and far between.

message 17: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Ennis (goodreadscomyahoo_pam) | 13 comments Hi I am looking for a list of mystery writers I have read alot of them but can't remember the names. I used to have one but can't find it now. Thanks

message 18: by Beth (new)

Beth | 408 comments
is a good place to start.

message 19: by Gary (new)

Gary Proctor | 20 comments Beth wrote: "Since I'm in the throes of arranging signings for my March 8th release, Deadly Currents, I had another thought. If most of the brick-and-mortar bookstores go away, where will readers..."

A good question. Where did they have them before the big box book stores where around? I guess they could use smaller convention /hotel spaces, but now your talking about probably getting some kind of sponsorship to pay for the space since I assume that what you are doing now is free?

message 20: by Delaney (new)

Delaney Diamond (delaney_diamond) Beth, thanks so much! That's a great website.

message 21: by Beth (new)

Beth | 408 comments You're welcome, Delaney. They do a good job of tracking all the books in order in lots of series.

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