Three years ago, in 2011, I wrote a blog post about how independent bookstores were not going to be crushed by the eBook. Here’s the blog for proof. http://www.classicsusedbooks.com/?p=474
In the three years that passed, sales at independent bookstores (selling real physical books) grew about 8 percent a year for three years running while eBook sales have leveled off at about 33% off the market (outsold by both hard covers and paperbacks).
In that blog, I reasoned that cries of disaster were just Chicken Little alarms and listed the sorts of book lovers that would never leave real books for eBooks. Here’s that link again in case you forgot to check it out when I gave it to you in the first paragraph. http://www.classicsusedbooks.com/?p=474
In addition to the reasons I gave three years ago, here’s another reason eBooks have leveled off in their appeal. While they have some great things going for them (it’s easier to carry 150 books in digital format, for example), EBooks have turned out to be not as cheap as promised. First you aren’t going to buy a best seller for 99 cents. Second, the cost of the machine (and its upgrades) has to be factored into the cost. If you only read a handful of books a year, real books (especially used books) are far cheaper. If you read lots of books, you are more likely to fall into the categories of people who love physical books, like to browse books and like to belong to a community of readers—all people who love their real books.
Here’s some other people’s thoughts on the subject:
Print Books vs. E Books
Independent stores vs. Amazon
If you know a bookstore who is committed to getting books to kids, you can recommend them for a one-time grant!
“Best-selling thriller writer James Patterson has pledged to give $1 million to struggling independent bookstores. The novelist… … says he will hand out money to ‘viable’ bookstores, with the proviso that they contain a children’s section. … Patterson said he would pay some of the money directly to worthy booksellers ‘who haven’t had a bonus in seven years.’ “
As reported in The Guardian. “I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children’s books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I’ve seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy.
“It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn’t hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.
“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”
For the complete article on “Why our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming” visit http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming
Another reason to support your local used bookstores. They support you, your favorite restaurants, your schools, your churches, your neighbors, your nephew’s football team, your community choir. The big box stores or Internet sites? Not so much.
$100 spent at a local bookstore brings $45 worth of economic activity in the local community, while $100 spent at a large bookstore chain brings only $13 back to the community.
For more information, visit http://www.elocal.com/infographics/why-buy-local.html.
I understand many of the reasons one might like physical books over electronic books. I had never considered the potential of the Internet imploding or computer viruses eating up all eBooks like some software program from Terminator!
Silicon Valley Internet businessman Brewster Kahle spent $3 million to buy and operate a book ark, saving solid paper books in the event of a massive loss of digital information.
In an interview with the New York Times, linked below, Kahle reminds us that while the Internet seems like the ultimate infallible technology, “microfilm and microfiche were once a utopian vision of access to all information, but it turned out we were very glad to have kept the books.”
For the complete article, click here.
Ann Patchett writes in the New York Times about the triumph of the independent bookstores.
Everything cycles back around. Things I didn’t think could ever make a comeback — Newt Gingrich and platform shoes — proved capable of startling resurgence. Now when someone tells me a trend is dead, I think, no, probably just dormant.
Take bookstores, for example. With the demise of the Borders chain and the shaky footing of Barnes and Noble, one might be tempted to write off the whole business. But as one who spent her summer on a book tour, I would like to offer this firsthand report from the front lines: Americans are still reading books. Night after night after night I showed up in a different bookstore and people were there with their hardbacks. Sure, I signed a couple of iPad covers, Kindle covers. I’ve got no problem with that. But just because some people like their e-readers doesn’t mean we should sweep all the remaining paperbacks in a pile and strike a match. Maybe bookstores are no longer 30,000 square feet, but they are selling books….
The cycle has come all the way back around: the little bookstore grew into a big bookstore, which was squashed by the superstore, which folded beneath the Internet store, which made people long for a little bookstore. The whole process took about 13 years.
For the full article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/opinion/sunday/ann-patchetts-book-tour.html?_r=2.