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E-Readers & Technology > The End of Bookstores

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann Massey (flyingfinish) 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 Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) Ann Massey wrote: "Borders/Angus&Robertson: the first to fall victim to the internet

The book seller's brought on themselves (and continue to do so. They got n bed with the publishers and production companies hoping to make a killing by only publishing desired and popular novels. But, like the indy bands, independent authors have struck back. seizing control of their own product through self publishing, on-line sales, e-pubs, and Lindberg Press and google books. Amazon saw the future and jumped early but with a harsh blow (Kindle). Ipads have attempted but the back light doesn't work as well for reading, particularly text books. With Amazon offering Whispernet for free to any author they have launched a new two pronged attack: get textbooks in line for online sales and let new authors try the open market (Kindle's new singles). Publishers are forced to let the rights go if they want any part of the online/download pie. Authors must write a better novel and not just write for production (movie rights) profits. If it don't sell it won't become a movie and they won't get paid. I am 60 and I use either my computer or my Kindle exclusively. The books I own are exclusively closed publications that will not be available in e-format (Kierkegaard, Calvin, and out of publication).

message 3: by Starzee (new)

Starzee | 60 comments There are three Borders stores in New Zealand. I think they're all on their way out.

A shame really. Whitcoulls might be heading the same way as well. I don't want to read books online. Half the joy of books is that they are books. Reading them on a screen isnt as good as turning the pages

message 4: by Ebony (new)

Ebony (poppyy) I do not like ebooks at all. I love books because they seem so personal. You can snug in your bed with them and cover up and get transported in a new world. I just can't do that with an electronic copy.

message 5: by Starzee (last edited Feb 19, 2011 11:57PM) (new)

Starzee | 60 comments Me either. I hope it doesn't come to that, or there goes my passion for reading

message 6: by Ebony (new)

Ebony (poppyy) Yea I feel like my reading will slack off(at least on new books) I will prolly hit all of the used bookstores and such. I also hate that most of the ebooks cost the same as a real book.

message 7: by Gorfo (new)

Gorfo ebooks are really making real bookstores close out fast

message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann Massey (flyingfinish) I feel sorry for the book stores but I'm glad that publishers and literary agents are losing their control over the industry thanks to DIY publishing.

message 9: by Glennis (new)

Glennis E-books have their place as less expensive, easy to transport, space saving items...however...they're dependent on the current technology and...electricity. I find that somewhat worrisome. I'll stick to my old style, written word on paper, unless I have a serious need to adopt an electronic style. I can see students, usually financially strapped, being more enchanted by this style of text...sure weighs a lot less too!

message 10: by Eric (last edited Feb 20, 2011 09:19AM) (new)

Eric | 6 comments it will be sad though like the ipod, where you can listen to only the music you want, but you won't have the chance to find and discover new totally awesome books or music

message 11: by Pratibha (new)

Pratibha Pandey (pratibhareads) Though I prefer reading books that the electronic version, shopping online is surely much easy that going to a book shop ! It not just save time but also money. every time i shop on impulse, i regret not checking it on online shopping site. Its always cheaper there ...

message 12: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin I just went to borders and they wouldnt sell me a gift card because they are bankrupt. This is the end of an era and I don't like it at all.

message 13: by *Ash* (new)

*Ash* (ashdex) | 17 comments Personally, I will be so upset if the bookstore closes down. I love going to the bookstore, I go at least once a week. I do also own a kindle, but there are some books that I need the actual book because I want to be able to re-read it. I also love the feel of a book, plus I love the smell of used books.

Also if you are a person that goes to signing events, its not like the author can sign an electronic book.

message 14: by Erin E (new)

Erin E (elizamc) Some companies will go under, it is what happens as things change. Chapter's bookstores are still doing well, as they have branched out to internet sales as well.

I don't foresee books completely dying out. There will always be a market for them. Though I find it more distressing to learn that eReaders will fall to the way side for tablets. If anything I love the look to my Kobo, the eInk is incredible and looks just like a page in a book, not to mention that I can change the font size to fit my needs rather than spending more money on varying strengths of reading glasses depending on the size of print in a book.

There is a certian conveience of the kobo (and other eReaders) when I travel I can take as many books with me and not have to worry about paying extra fees for heavier luggage, ect.

Certian retail companies will servive and others will not, it just depends on how well they are able to adapt to the changing times, and changing needs of their customers.

message 15: by Nicole (last edited Feb 20, 2011 06:34PM) (new)

Nicole (ncuff) | 10 comments It's a shame. I do love going into Borders, but I have to say that It pains me to purchase a book there whenI know that I can get it so much cheaper on Amazon. For instance What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz
sells for 28.00 at Borders hardcover, new. Amazon sells it for 14.99 Hardcover, New with free shipping. Now which one am i going to choose? I really would love to support Borders, but with the economy the way it is, it's hard not to purchase it at Amazon.

message 16: by Chad (new)

Chad Huckabaa Well, I definitely think the era of the big bookseller is over, but I believe that smaller operations, if they are willing to diversify, and make the effort to build a dedicated client base that may be much more personal and social than the big sellers were ever able or willing to do (through store based book clubs, discussion groups, etc.), can still be successful. I have been in shops that have taken this kind of path, and It has generally been a very good experience. I hope to see more small operations pop up to fill the void. I also think that such operations should be able to sell e-books directly, which would help them to be competitive.

message 17: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 55 comments FYI, is a pirate site that offers copyrighted books for free. Would you go into a book store and steal a book? No? Then why rip-off the author by getting a free download? Where's the impetus for the author to continue writing, if they make nothing? The royalties from eBooks is usually under $1 per book anyway...enough people stealing means no royalties. Go to and buy them for a coupla bucks...throw the authors a bone!

I have no sympathy for publishers/stores that try to resell the same old crap, and charge $24.99 for a year, before they will even release the paperback. And they do not seek creativity, but yet another version of the same-old, same-old. Just like movies, where a truly original concept will fail at the box office, while another piece of excrement tossed at the wall by the usually talent-free but currently "hot" actors will make millions. Just as I haven't bought a CD since getting my I-Pod and opening an I-Tunes account, I can see not needing to keep building book shelves, while I continue to indulge my passion for reading with my kindle.

message 18: by Cassie (new)

Cassie | 30 comments About two months ago, I learned that the Joseph Beth Booksellers by my house was closing. While standing in line for the last time there, this little old man who has worked there for years stopped the lady in front of me. He looked at the baby she was holding and I'll never for get what he said, "It's a shame to think she will never hold a book. This is the end of an era." Then he shook his head and walked away. His words have haunted me since. I love browsing bookstores and I don't purchase any ebooks. I like being able to hold a book and the satisfaction of shelving a newly finished one. A year ago, we lost our Barnes and Noble. Now a huge vacant building looms where Joseph Beth Booksellers once proudly stood. A small Borders store is all we have left and that is not doing so well despite its new lack of competition. I've had to resort to searching the limited supplies at Walmart and Target for new things to read. I'm afraid that what the old man said is coming soon way sooner than I anticipated.

message 19: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 55 comments I buy books I want to own at the local used book store. There are 2 independent book stores within an hour's drive from here, and if I'm really jonsing for a new over-priced book, I'll go there, or I'll order from Amazon. But used book sales take place at the local library, and through various organizations like the AAUW.
I used to rail against eBooks until I got published by e-publishers. After 2 years I finally got my first e-reader, and I'm thrilled with the lower prices, the lack of clutter from new books, and the ease of downloading. I also enjoy supporting authors who have new voices, who write creative stuff that may not sell enough for a huge conglomerate, but are still very interesting reads. To each their own, I guess.
But I'm not ready to sit and cry like Burgess Meredith in the end of the Twilight Zone episode where he finally gets a chance to read books and his glasses get broken. There are still many avenues for dedicated readers, including libraries. It's not sack-cloth and ashes time.

message 20: by Erin (new)

Erin Germain (demiguise) I have hundreds of books (what I actually have listed here on Goodreads doesn't cover it all, just what I've gotten to), and most people would shudder if they saw the number of books that are regularly scattered on my coffee table. I try to support local stores, whether it be small independents or Borders (which was a particular favorite), but really, a lot of it comes down to affordability, and that usually means Amazon.

I also was an early adopter of the Kindle, and I do enjoy it. I have quite a number of books on it, but it hasn't obliterated my collection of paper books. I see them as being able to co-exist, and use the Kindle for books that are out of print or things I tend to read a lot. I can't tell you how many paperback copies I've had to replace over the years, because I've read them so many times they wore out. I don't know about the rest of you, but that isn't something I can really afford, so I've picked up Kindle versions. It's nice to tuck with me when I travel, have a hair appointment, sitting in the doctor's waiting room, etc. It's another option, and I'm all for keeping my options open.

message 21: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Jackson I have a nook, and I do like it, especially if it's the middle of the night and none of my hundreds of books lining my shelves appeals to me at that time. I can just download a book and start reading right then. It's also great for travel. But, I still prefer holding a book in my hands and flipping through the pages as I read. There's just something there that can't be duplicated by the electronic version. I also hope someday to finish writing my book, and when I do, I want to hold a real copy in my hands. I love going into a bookstore or library and browsing real books.

message 22: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) ☆♥Starzee♥☆ wrote: "There are three Borders stores in New Zealand. I think they're all on their way out.

A shame really. Whitcoulls might be heading the same way as well. I don't want to read books online. Half..."

Books won't stop being published just sold online- shelving and stocking and mass purchases are expensive. Amazon and others are doing well selling books online. Not just e-reads but real books.

message 23: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) Gorfo wrote: "ebooks are really making real bookstores close out fast"

It wasn't just e-readers but online sellers- less overhead, no shelving, less theft, no destroyed books, no minimum purchases forced on it by publishers, no tariffs for quick production costs for movie rights. A book store is not at all like a grocery store. Ever since Crown Books (last of the independent sellers in America) went out the publishers have run it and the online guys just beat them with better service. I have purchased all my books from Amazon in the last five years.

message 24: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 55 comments For those who still like to congregate and read/discuss books, other authors who have been around longer than me have suggested that future book stores would be more like coffee shops with a limited number of new books on shelves (maybe 1 of each) for you to page through, and kiosks that allow for you to scroll through new books to pay for and download something new instantly into your reader, or to order and pay for an actual POD (print on demand) book to be printed and bound and sent to either your home or the store for you to pick up in a coupla days. The main advantage would be, as Johnnie above points out, no overhead in having to buy lots of books when you don't know what will sell, and not having to return or discount them when they don't. Plus less ability for theft. Sounds like win-win for the store, readers and the authors.

message 25: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) Fiona wrote: "For those who still like to congregate and read/discuss books, other authors who have been around longer than me have suggested that future book stores would be more like coffee shops with a limite..."

Yes, this sounds doable, like Starbucks tried to do with music but failed do to price. Self publishing in easy and affordable...just lessens the chances of getting that over priced book deal with movie rights attached. Authors will actually have to live off their skills and not marketing.

message 26: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 7 comments There's absolutely nothing like holding an actual, tangeable book in your hands. Don't resort to eBooks!

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I going to be sad if there's going to be an end of bookstores even though I haven't purchased a book in years. There is a different feeling of owing a book rather than having one online which I do not want to turn to. I usually get my books from my local library, but they don't have everything that I would like to read.

message 28: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 102 comments I certainly enjoy my books there is something about the feel that I don't get from any other format.

message 29: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh (ddaisies) It actually makes me REALLY REALLY sad that one day we may all be required to electronically read "books." It pains me! I would be more than willing to purchase my college textbooks for an electronic device, but NOT books that I read by choice! And even some textbooks I would prefer in print. I just can't imagine a world without the printed word. I truly do not even want to THINK about that possibility.

message 30: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) Ashleigh wrote: "It actually makes me REALLY REALLY sad that one day we may all be required to electronically read "books." It pains me! I would be more than willing to purchase my college textbooks for an electr..."

Do not despair, books will NOT disappear just the way in which they are published (less control by publishers and and booksellers) and how you purchase (more online or specialty shops). Self publication is actually cheaper than publishing houses (I do some small simple publishing and hope to expand) just no promise of millions of dollars and that all important movie deal. You shall always have your books!

message 31: by Erin (new)

Erin Germain (demiguise) Johnnie is right. What I think (and this is just my opinion, based on what I've read), this will change the way books are published and distributed, and in large part (again, my opinion), due to the stranglehold publishers held over the industry. Many of them have refused to change, so now change is being forced on them, either in the form of e-books as an alternative or with self-publishing. No, there won't be the multi-million dollar contracts, but I don't think most people who write are in it for the buck. If anything, I think there will be more for people to read, we'll just be getting it through different means.

message 32: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Jackson Would like to learn more about self-publishing. Can anyone point me to some good sources?

message 33: by Beth (new)

Beth (poodlefruit) | 2 comments My local shopping centre has lost 5 bookshops in the last 10 years. It’s down to two chain stores that never take a risk on anything new or interesting. Amazon gets most of my business these days. I’ve tried other people’s e-readers and apps on my phone, but I’d miss the aesthetic, tactile qualities of paper books to switch over to switch over permanently.

message 34: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) Rebecca wrote: "Would like to learn more about self-publishing. Can anyone point me to some good sources?"

I use a local printer who can do small jobs (booklets and simple binding) and for larger jobs.

message 35: by Erin (new)

Erin Germain (demiguise) Rebecca wrote: "Would like to learn more about self-publishing. Can anyone point me to some good sources?"

I used for my book. I've also heard good things about lulu.

message 36: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) What has not been said is the uniqueness of some book: manuals, larger journal books, children's books, large picture books, plates, science and technology books, will continue to have large and significant demand and so push the market for quality books leading to a support for regular novels. So no one should be alarmed that "books will go away", just the way we purchase them and find them.

message 37: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) Also another thought, I have often wondered if "new" authors would have considered less of their status in order to publish in more simple forms like daily serials if that would not have helped maintain the newspapers. It worked for Dickens, Twain, Malamoud, etc. New authors should rejoice in the market opening up but just not focus on fame and fortune. Just write, and do it well or not sell!

message 38: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Jackson Johnnie wrote: "Rebecca wrote: "Would like to learn more about self-publishing. Can anyone point me to some good sources?"

I use a local printer who can do small jobs (booklets and simple binding) and f..."

Thank you very much. I will check that out.

message 39: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Jackson Erin wrote: "Rebecca wrote: "Would like to learn more about self-publishing. Can anyone point me to some good sources?"

I used for my book. I've also heard good things about lulu."

Thanks a bunch. I have heard of but not this one. I will definitely check it out.

message 40: by Jill (new)

Jill (jillylilly) That would be such a shame. There is nothing like the feel of a book in your hands. I love just spending time in a bookstore, sitting in the aisle and reading. I sure hope they don't go!!

message 41: by Allie (new)

Allie (tarnished) | 4 comments I own an ereader, actually got it as a christmas present. I've bought books and gotten free books for it but I've only read two on it. I'm still keen on my traditional paper books. It just doesn't feel right to read on an ereader. It's not the same. And there is no replacing the bookstore lore, the feeling of wandering aimlessly for hours among thousands of books. priceless.

message 42: by slowpoke (new)

slowpoke (slowpokereads) My mom got a "Nook" for her birthday back in September. She says she loves and can't live with out it.

In my opinion, I don't like ereaders. Its so much more fun to have a library filled with books in your house and going out to book stores and purchasing books. It just has a feeling that ereaders don't have.

message 43: by Becomingme (new)

Becomingme | 10 comments My arthritic hands(I have AS, similar to RA, and somewhat young) cannot hold some "traditional" books...I now have a nook and have read and purchased more books in the last month than I have in the last few years. Also I have explored authors that I would have bypassed in traditional formats, being introduced to them via "free books".

JMHO, but I agree that we will not lose books entirely, nor do I see reading with an e-book anything negative (just a different experience)...this from the girl who LOVES her leather bound editions.

My opinion is that this is a time of change, and exciting time, where newer, unknown authors get a chance and that bookstores have to change or lose out...sorry to say, Borders didn't figure out how to change...adapt to an audience...for instance, here in the Phoenix Metro area, Changing Hands Bookstore is doing quite well, because they have tapped into an audience...they have an atmosphere, they are willing to sell books from independent authors and exchange books, along with some other funky type stuff (herbal soaps and new age type supplies), and fit into a few niches...Borders did not. At least here, most of the time(the Biltmore Border's was a lot nicer, though still lacked in selection), it was a poor imitation of a Barnes & Nobel, with a dash of the old B. Dalton's (which no one really noticed when THEY closed) lack of comfort and coziness, more resembling the bookstore in a hospital gift shop...

message 44: by Johnnie (new)

Johnnie (berfer) Becomingme wrote: "My arthritic hands(I have AS, similar to RA, and somewhat young) cannot hold some "traditional" books...I now have a nook and have read and purchased more books in the last month than I have in the..."

I always wondered how Borders made money when they allowed (encouraged) people to use their bookstores as a library/restaurant. They lost money on music; wasted money on movies and I seldom saw people buy anything other than discount books, paperbacks and coffee. I spent a small fortune on well colored exercise manuals from Amazon and still saved over $200 if I would have bought them at Borders.

message 45: by C.J. (new)

C.J. (cjwest) | 1 comments I'm an e-book convert as a reader and a writer. I love my Kindle and I love what it has done for indie authors like me.

I'd like to see bookstores (or coffee shops) become the place for authors to get together with readers and sign / discuss books. We can talk books online, but it is so much better in person. Stores have been moving away from events recently and I don't understand why they've done this. I'd like to see them embrace something that will keep them in business. Unfortunately, selling physical books is not where they compete strongest against etailers.

I'm optimistic about the future e-books have opened up for writers and this is a great development. I'd like to see bookstores find a place in the future as well but it is looking grim.

message 46: by Richard (new)

Richard Proctor | 1 comments While I have stacks of books I have read and wonderful classics on my shelf, I find that with multi media such as my Kindle, my Droid, and audiobooks on my ipod, I am able to effectively consume about 350 pages of reading a day. This of course is in addition to my job, about 100 emails a day, personel e-mails, and the periodicals I read daily on my Kindle. If I had this kind of opportunity whne I was young, think of the possibilities.

message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that with all the new electronic reading devices, I'm sure bookstores will be getting less and less popular. Watch out barnes and Nobles!

message 48: by Chris (new)

Chris I've mainly switched over to e-books because of buying my 'nook'. But I still enjoy going into my local BN store and browsing or just sitting and reading in the cafe. So it's sad to see that so many bookstores are closing up.

message 49: by Erin E (last edited Feb 26, 2011 10:36AM) (new)

Erin E (elizamc) I feel like I live in a vaccum every time I come back to this thread. I live between Sidney (Victoria International Airport) and Victoria, I have not seen bookstores close, maybe it is because this is a major area for Colleges and UVic not to mention that the sleepy little town of Sidney still heralds itself as the "booktown by the sea" none of the bookstores have closed, and I doubt Tanners will fall victim to this "bookstore crisis" - although they sell every magazine and newspaper known to man, which might help them and the rest of the 8-9 bookstores in town are used bookstores with two focusing on the sale of rare classics.

As for Victoria itself, they have always had Coles books, Smiths Books and Chapters (which I beleive are all apart of the same monopoly? indigo.chapters?) There is a bookstore in the Hillside Mall that has always done well, but it has little alcoves where people can sit and read their purchases and it is always filled with College and Univsity kids. There has only been one bookstore closure that I was aware of and that was more than 5 years ago when a Coles and Webb bookstore closed at Mayfair to make way for a Ben and Jerry Icecream Shoppe.

Again, maybe I live in a vaccum... but I do agree it would be nice to see bookstores invite authors to sign books do book readings ect. They come to the University and the Colleges from time to time, but these authors tend to be the Dionne Brand types that fit into a set "school of thought" (Dionne = Women's Studies and other varying Humanities type faculties)

.... ??

and again, my wrist injuries have been more than happy with the creation of eReaders.

message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Who thinks Barnes and Nobles is better than Amazon? I'm stuck between the two.

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