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:
Classics customers know why used books are the best. They are half price and cheaper (no $34 hard-backed mystery novels), they are good for the environment (how many stores sell almost all recycled goods?) and they are good for the community (coming, as used books are, wrapped in used bookstores–which are more likely to encourage local authors, literacy programs, poetry jams, games nights, book clubs, knitting groups and hanging out with your neighbors).
In addtion, used bookstores are that sexy, dishevelled neighbor who actually wants to talk to you over a cup of coffee, rather than that uptight car salesman who wants your $30 and get out of his face.
Huffington Post has a list of 13 reasons you should always buy used books. You can read it here.
Marketer Penny Sansevieri makes an intriquing argument about the importance of bookstores, not just to the community, but to authors, both eBook and print, to Amazon’s publishing business, and to traditional publishing houses. Read more.
Alison Hill, President of Vroman’s Bookstore, wrote an essay for the Huffington Post about the power of brick-and-mortar bookstores.
At one point she counts the people in her bookstore reading, listening to a new author, participating in a book club. “It is in these moments,” she writes, “that I am awed by the role a bookstore plays in a community, a feeling made even more awesome by the realization that today we sold 1,087 books, any one of which could change a life.”