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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.
http://annmasseyauthor.net/
http://thebiocideconspiracy.com


message 2: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35963 comments It was my understanding (I haven't really read much about the case) that Borders went into a reorganization Chapter 11. I believe I heard that the plan is to close about 130 stores.

I live in within 10 miles of at least 7 stores. I received an e-mail this morning that one of them is going under and they are having a going out of business sale there. It is not in the best neighborhood but it was near the elevated train. So it may be that store never drew in enough business.

The ones that it appears may be staying open in the Chicago area are in the suburbs, downtown, or in more upscale neighborhoods where people who read (or should be reading) live. The two I know of in the suburbs are in areas where there is a high level of traffic - across the street from a movie theater and in a shopping mall. There are also two stores in downtown Chicago and I haven't heard anything aobut any of these closing yet.

Although I have a kindle I still buy books at both of the Borders in the suburbs. They are closest to me.


message 3: by Morgan (new)

Morgan (mogitha) | 17 comments I never buy books online (or at retail book stores), I only go and buy my books in thrift stores. But I could understand wanting to buy textbooks online, since textbooks are outrageously expensive. Still, it's pretty sad.


message 4: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 674 comments I have vision impairment and have to limit my computer time, vision blurs after a certain amount of time, possibly due to the digitizing, but I'm not sure. Unless I am able to 'borrow' a Kindle and keep it long enough to be sure my eyes would not react like this to reading, I'm not willing to invest in one.

Since I'm not able to drive, either, my town trips are limited to once or twice a month and my book-selecting is limited pretty much to a library visit. I don't read books that don't interest me, so a trip home with a dozen books may net me 6 or 8 books I actually read from beginning to end and only rarely do I find one that I like well enough to consider buying to re-read. With very limited shelf space (yes, I know Kindle would solve that problem, one reason I keep thinking about it) I only buy those books I am sure I will enjoy re-reading often.

The few series that I know I will want for 'mine' I end up pre-ordering from Amazon. I wish we had a good bookstore locally, in which case I would make the effort to visit when some of my favorites are due out ... unfortunately that is not the case.

So for me, library for general reading, Amazon for the ones I know I want to own, used on-line sources for books I 'discover' that I want to own.


message 5: by Jeanna (new)

Jeanna (jeannafields) | 20 comments Are Kindle books really that affordable? I guess if yo purchase all your books new it would run about the same $9-$15 per right? I am asking because I quite honestly do not know. I also don't know which is better, Nook, Kindle, Sony Reader.... Oh my goodness so many goodies to choose from right? I swap books with friends, buy books at my libraries used book shop and online on half.com and other used shops so I rarely pay full price. So I don't know if they would be cost effective. Since I don't buy new, I don't feel I am harming the environment. But my curiousity is peaked, but as I mentioned in another thread, I don't know if I could get over not having a book in my hand, the weight, the smell, the feel, the turning of pages, the sound... I just don't know. I guess maybe I would have to borrow one too and see.


message 6: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 674 comments I don't actually buy that many brand new books personally, so I'm thinking it wouldn't be cost effective for me either. An example ... I plan to buy the new Sandford book as soon as it comes out. Right now the preorder price for the hardback is $14.81. The Kindle price is listed at $14.99. The only savings there would be shipping and if I buy two books (which I plan to do) then they offer free shipping.

Many of the books I have on my bookshelf are older books not even available on Kindle. Others, such as some of the Dick Francis books, are available but the Kindle version runs between $7.00 to $9.00 and you can find them used between $2.00 and $4.00 most places.

I lost everything in a fire some years ago and have been replacing my favorite books ever since. If that happened again, might consider the option of a Kindle reader.


message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy Olson | 148 comments As a Kindle owner, I can say that it is a very convenient way to "collect" books. The prices vary depending on the publisher...but are generally reasonable when you think of hardcover prices. There are opportunities to get freebees that are newer releases..and there are several sites that offer free books to download. I have a pretty large collection of real books and still love turning pages...some authors I will continue to buy that way. My Kindle currently has about 150 books, including the free ones. It lives in my purse so it is ready to be re..ad almost anywhere. I am a fan


message 8: by C.J. (new)

C.J. (cjwest) | 2 comments Jenna,

The Kindle can save you money on books if you are willing to buy independent authors. Publishers sometimes price ebooks at or above the cost of the print book, but if you connect with independent authors, you'll find books for $4 or less. Many books are $.99.

The trick here is finding indie authors that appeal to you. I assume you like mystery/thriller books because you are here. You could try these authors and discover that their books are quite good and quite reasonable.


CJ West (me)
LJ Sellers
Tim Hallinan Crashed.
(His traditionally published books are more expensive.)
Simon Wood
Scott Nicholson
Debbi Mack

There are many others.


message 9: by Jeanna (new)

Jeanna (jeannafields) | 20 comments That is great advice, thank you! If I decide to purchase I am leaning towards a Kindle anyway. Yes I do love good mystery/thrillers books, I will have to check out all of the indie books whether I get a Kindle or not. Thank you for the suggestions.


message 10: by Scott (new)

Scott Nicholson (scottnicholson) | 56 comments CJ, thanks for the mention, especially from such a gifted writer. It is hard for me to lament the decline of bookstores when the era has offered such a diverse explosion of talent and genre and style!
I love my Kindle, Jeanna, and so does my 11-yr-old!

Scott


message 11: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 335 comments I own a Nook and still purchase hardback books at several bookstores in my area. I was sad to here about Borders, they are a bookstore that I have always shopped at, I can think of 3 Borders that I shopped at that are in the "closing" stage. One of them is one that was host to several book signings that I have attended so, I'm not sure what the plan is there. It is scary to think that we could be without bookstores - I have bought books online, but it is rare for me, I just love going to the bookstore to shop. It makes me very sad..... :(


message 12: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35963 comments Linda wrote: "I own a Nook and still purchase hardback books at several bookstores in my area. I was sad to here about Borders, they are a bookstore that I have always shopped at, I can think of 3 Borders that I..."

They are closing most of the Borders inn Chicago area and all on my side of town. There will still, as of the most recent posting that I have seen, one downtown and one or two in suburbs on the other side of town, 30-40 miles away.


message 13: by Kris (new)

Kris Ball (krisuk) | 16 comments To be honest, I've found a lot of book shops I have visited just too expensive. The only place I have found bargain books other than online is a local market seller. If it wasn't for the likes of the Kindle, I probably wouldn't own as many books or read many of the books that I have.

I still have more paperbacks than I have room for though...


message 14: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (last edited Apr 06, 2011 07:24AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Ann Massey wrote: "This week we heard the news that Angus & Robertson have gone into receivership, a victim to new technology.

Just curious Ann, did you add that A&R is going into receivership because of the new technology? or is that what A&R is saying?

Jan C wrote: I live in within 10 miles of at least 7 stores.

I don't live in the States, and have never even been in a Borders, so I haven't been following the situation. I know that all bookstores are having a hard time and a good friend of mine who works in one of the biggest Indie bookstores on the east coast says the situation is tragic, but the whole economy is in a tragic situation. And that sounds like an awful lot of stores in a small area.

Wasn't the VCR supposed to be the cause of the downfall of the movie industry in the early 80s? There have been a lot of changes since then, some companies went bankrupt, some didn't, but the movie industry is still here. And was it really the VCR that caused these problems? I don't think so, but that's just my take on it.

And I don't think that ebooks are the cause of the publishing industry's distress either. If your publishing house isn't on firm ground then the arrival of a new technology like the ebook is going to be a problem, but frankly there was ample warning. They have been around since the 1970s.

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenbe...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book


message 15: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35963 comments Hayes wrote: "Ann Massey wrote: "This week we heard the news that Angus & Robertson have gone into receivership, a victim to new technology.

Just curious Ann, did you add that A&R is going into receivership bec..."


Hayes - it turns out that they decided to close all of the stores on the north side of Chicago. There will be one store downtown and 4-5 stores on other sides of the city. We thought we had one store remaining in a northern suburb but it got caught in the second cut.

We are left with the dreaded Barnes & Noble.


message 16: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (last edited Apr 06, 2011 08:34AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Jan C wrote: "There will be one store downtown and 4-5 stores on other sides of the city."

That doesn't sound very smart to me, but I'm not an economist or a merchant; one wonders what the reasoning is.

What's wrong with B&N? I used to shop there when I lived in NYC, but haven't been in one in over 20 years.


message 17: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35963 comments Hayes wrote: "Jan C wrote: "There will be one store downtown and 4-5 stores on other sides of the city."

That doesn't sound very smart to me, but I'm not an economist or a merchant; one wonders what the reasoni..."


I quit shopping there when they vacated one corner in our town only to move across the street to another corner. And their original spot stayed empty for probably 5 years or so. At least when our Borders moved they moved to a different street where it looked like there would be more traffic (across the street from the new movie theater). But there are still a large number of empty storefronts downtown.

So for the past number of years, I only go to B&N when I can't otherwise find what I am looking for. In other words, as a last resort. Now, it is pretty much going to be our only resort, other than online.


message 18: by Heather (new)

Heather (bookarelife-vitalibri) | 7 comments I love technology, but there is just something to me about holding a book in your hand, perusing the book store, and being surrounded by books. I haven't gone electronic reader and hope to stay with the good old-fashioned book for a long time. I live in the suburbs of Chicago and am watching all of the Borders around me closing. I am more a B&N shopper, but it is sad to see a book store close.


message 19: by Creature (new)

Creature | 93 comments Hello:
I don't think "virtual" books will ever completely replace print books though they are creating a bit of a stir. Books made from real paper and binding take up lots of room whereas the virtual books can be stored by the hundreds in a space not much bigger (and sometimes smaller)than a standard magazine. Still, a nice full wall library is a sight to see. Buying books for an e-reader simply cannot compare to the thrill of the hunt for more books to add to that full wall library. I think there will always be books to hold and read. Just my thought.
Have a Great Day!!!
Pleasant Reading!!!
The "Creature"


message 20: by aprilla (new)

aprilla This is interesting, a bit sad too, but not having a book store nearby I equate book shopping/browsing with days out/travelling, and have been delighted with internet availability in comparison. I haven't gone e-reader but I have gone audio.

While I agree that paper books will always exist, I think e-readers will have massive impact on younger readers just starting to collect, who haven't had walls of books. Without having a history of book store browsing they could find the convenience of immediate purchase and d/load preferrable to the ordering and waiting I remember with paper books. And for moving about they don't have to factor the growing numbers of boxes of books to move...

Even I, who loved dusting/arranging/sharing my shelves of books, have started to offload them as I collect more audio versions. Now, when I think about it, I find I'm not as upset if I don't get to a book store when off on a days jaunt, which was THE thing once-upon-a-time, sigh, things move on...

While I loved reading paper, I remember hating having to put a book down to do small jobs, seemed it was always at a 'good spot'. I don't have to do that anymore with audio, so that's my choice now and the only way for me to get a good selection seems to be on-line.

Unfortunately, all this has to have a huge effect on book stores.

wonders: could this bring library effect wallpaper back into popularity??


message 21: by Scott (last edited Apr 13, 2011 09:49AM) (new)

Scott Nicholson (scottnicholson) | 56 comments Interestingly, I was in a little bookshop/craftstore Friday where the owner said people still wanted "real books" and that wouldn't change--then pointed out her store used to be the town bus station...nope, NOTHING ever changes!

I just wrote an article for indiereader.com about how all the changes have created an opening for new indie bookstores to emerge. Hope springs eternal, too.

Scott Nicholson


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 335 comments Heather wrote: "I love technology, but there is just something to me about holding a book in your hand, perusing the book store, and being surrounded by books. I haven't gone electronic reader and hope to stay wi..."

I'm with you on that Heather, I do own a Nook, but I love the idea of holding a book. Does anyone remember WaldenBooks??? They were gobbled up by Border's several years ago. I was a big fan of Waldenbooks and when Borders bought them, they closed all of the mall stores. I was not happy with Border's, but I still shopped at the stores!! :)


message 23: by John (last edited Apr 14, 2011 05:00AM) (new)

John Karr (karr) | 122 comments Scott wrote: "It is hard for me to lament the decline of bookstores when the era has offered such a diverse explosion of talent and genre and style..."

Same here. As a reader and writer, technology has unlocked the gates to the publishing world. E-books may never fully replace paper, nor should they. Choice means freedom for the consumer.

John A. Karr


message 24: by Creature (new)

Creature | 93 comments Hello:
What's interesting to me is that we now live in a society where owning "nothing" equates to the ownership of "something."
Now, as far as Nothing ever changes...Everything changes. The Book Store was a bus stop, maybe a forest, a trading post for paleo-Indians, A "rest stop" for Mastodons, a possible mountain or swamp area, possibly Dinosaurs ambling through it, was covered in Prehistoric ferns, was a lake and maybe even part of one great continent, a possible sea loaded with Mososaurs and before them trilobites, a swirling mass of congealing, cooling gases, and before that...Big Bang (If that is what really happened, I don't know, I wasn't there). So, yes, things do change, but, after two thousand plus years (a mere spit on the landscape of time), we still have the written word.
Have a Great Day!!!
The "Creature"


message 25: by Gatorman (new)

Gatorman | 7679 comments Linda wrote: "Heather wrote: "I love technology, but there is just something to me about holding a book in your hand, perusing the book store, and being surrounded by books. I haven't gone electronic reader and..."


Yup, I used to shop at Waldenbooks in the mall by my house. Found it convenient to have a bookstore there to break the monotony of clothes shopping with my wife. Always seemed to find something good to read. I miss those stores.


message 26: by Scott (new)

Scott Nicholson (scottnicholson) | 56 comments heh Creature, good insight! JOhn, I agree--more options for everyone.

Gatorman, our local indie just took over the mall space formerly occupied by Waldenbooks! A weird plot twist.


message 27: by Creature (new)

Creature | 93 comments Hello:


Thanx, and...that's a great plot twist. Hopefully more indie stores will flourish as the chain stores chicken and turn tail.
Have a Great Day!!!
The "Creature"


message 28: by Gatorman (new)

Gatorman | 7679 comments Scott wrote: "heh Creature, good insight! JOhn, I agree--more options for everyone.

Gatorman, our local indie just took over the mall space formerly occupied by Waldenbooks! A weird plot twist."


That is weird, Scott. Wish that would have happened at my mall. Our Waldenbooks was taken over by a rug store.


message 29: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 335 comments That is weird, but a nice alternative, ours were taken over by shoe stores and the like.... sigh....


message 30: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Linda wrote: "Heather wrote: "I love technology, but there is just something to me about holding a book in your hand, perusing the book store, and being surrounded by books. I haven't gone electronic reader and..."

Waldenbooks was purchased by Borders, but they did not close all of them. We still have a Waldenbooks in our mall. As a matter of fact, due to the closing of our two independent booksellers, it is the only bookstore selling new books in our town.


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