So you can read my books

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We are standing on the threshold of something that befalls every person,

               every civilization,

                        but with each at a different cost.

We move through the moments but are far them.

                        And as the night descends, it feels as if I am leaving home.

                I am swept up in a sense of the missed opportunity, the lost chance, the closed door.

                      Barnes and Noble is set to close
                                                         hundreds of stores soon

  Publishers are on a crash course learning how to survive without any volume booksellers,

and in an environment with one retailer (oh, guess) representing as much of its business as

 — well, who knows? Eighty percent? More?

That alone is likely to make publishers give up on printing books —

there’s no sense in printing books if your main outlet isn’t going to order any until they sell them — and join the digital “revolution.”

But the digital revolution is facing its own inertia:

Surveys say “showrooming” — seeing a thing before buying it —

is an integral part of buying books online. One survey reported that 40% of the people who buy books online looked at them in a bookstore first.

A New York Times report by David Streitfeld two weeks ago took the notion a step further.

Noting that “the triumph of e-books over their physical brethren is not happening quite as fast as forecast,”

Streitfeld floated the idea that this may be due to the “counterintuitive possibility …

that the 2011 demise of Borders, the second-biggest chain, dealt a surprising blow to the e-book industry.

 Readers could no longer see what they wanted to go home and order.”
Got that?

The closing of bookstores selling print books may also be hurting the sale of ebooks.

The only logical conclusion one can draw from all this, of course,

is that if B&N goes down the entire industry is facing rough seas.

Booksellers, publishers, authors, agents, librarians, and oh yeah, readers …

 B&N’s scorched earth policy of the 1990s , under-selling the indie bookstores,

has ultimately left us with,
well, scorched earth.

If the book industry is going to survive it, it’s going to take some real revolutionary activity, indeed.

What do you think?


  1. Fewer book stores means less exposure for authors, which means 'a bad thing' for publishing. Even if people did/do browse there to see what they want to go home and purchase electronically or via mail, it was still advertising.

    No bueno all the way around, I think.

  2. E.J.:
    I am of the same opinion. The demise of the brick book store may hurt reading more than it already is in this visual society.

  3. Publishing and bookstores are businesses and business looks at the bottom line - how much revenue are we pulling in?

    When business forgets who powers its ventures, and ignores the consumer and what they want - they fail. It's happened to stores here that were over 100 yrs old, when they stopped listening to their consumers and listened instead to inside people with 'theoretical knowledge' but no practical experience.

    Hard to imagine no bookstores. . .

  4. I grew up loving books, reading them, gleaning what knowleged I could from them. For a long time, I felt I had to buy the book, own it, in order for it to feel it had value. Books were a part of my identity. Then books began to get so expensive, I couldn't afford to buy them, I began using the libraries much, much more, and learned that owning the physical book does not make you one bit smarter. It's the knowledge inside them that counts. You can get that knowledge by borrowing the book, or reading it on an ereader. I'm not saying I like it; I'm saying I've changed and the times have changed as well. I'm changing with the times. The old way is not the only way.

  5. I think the e-book is still somewhat of a conumdrum to a lot of execs who don't truly understand the buying public. They still like to tell us what we want and put on their earmuffs when we try to tell them anything. You know they haven't figured things out yet when their cousins (book publishers) still have the audacity to charge around 20 bucks for a new e-book. We're still in the squall phase - watch out for the storm.

    There will always be two factions: those who could care less about the physical book and those who can't live without them.

  6. Of course most bookstores only feature the top authors - think of the millions of books available and how few bookstores really carry.
    If Barnes and Noble closes, it will have an effect, but if it goes under completely, then that would be even worse.
    I'll admit, I haven't stepped foot in a bookstore in years. Before my iPad, I purchased many of my books either online or through a book club. I guess that was my way of browsing.

  7. I still visit and buy from the bookstores - though I have an eReader, it's not my favorite way to read.

  8. Roland, I have a two-story Barnes and Noble across the street from me and I haven't stepped foot in it in over two years. I buy all ebooks.

  9. D.G.:
    B&N played hard ball with the indie bookstores, savagely under-pricing their books. Now, cities who lost their local book stores are faced with having NO bookstores at all.

    Selling coffee, trinkets, and pastries will not save B&N. I don't think anything can now. They will join JC Penny as a giant who was.

    I still love the feel of a quality book in my hands. No eBook can compare with the large coffee table books put out by DH Publishing. I love the smell of leather-bound books. Libraries were my refuge as a child and teen, so I have made of my home a small library! :-)

    The Old School Publishers are befuddled, not understanding the changing market. Panic does not promote wise thinking! I agree with you totally.

    I love to stroll the bookstore aisles at BOOKSaMILLION here. I find catchy titles I would never find any other way. I am saddened at the passing of the bookstore as I am the passing of the music store.

    It's not my favorite way to buy books either though I have the latest Kindle. Sigh.

    When I was evacuated to Baton Rouge, I spent as much of my free time as I could in the two story B&N and littered my hotel room with dozens of newly bought books. But that was before the age of the Kindle!

  10. Truthfully, I think this is good news. Remember the days BEFORE Barnes & Noble, Borders, the Zon, where independant bookstores were the norm rather than the oddity.

    I think there will be some very smart entrepeneurs coming this way soon with the return of the indie bookstore.

  11. Anne:
    You may be right. I owned one of those Indie Bookstores. It is a lot of work unless you have very deep pockets with only a meager return -- the margin of profit is low unless you buy in bulk -- too much for an independent. I hope you are right. Thanks for visiting! :-)