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As many of you can see, I've been a pretty terrible blogger lately! What can I say...Life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

DOUBLE FEATURE: Struggling to Stay on Paper

In honor of the most recent poll, "Do you believe paper books will become obsolete?" I am hosting a double feature on current developments in the book industry. Books have come so far from cave drawings, to scrolls, to codex, to hardcovers, paperbacks, audio books, and now, ebooks. What happens next? Where will this industry go?

The first feature is entitled "Struggling to Stay on Paper." So far with the release of ebooks regularly printed books seem to be doing okay. However, keeping up with the proper supply and demand while dealing with complaints of rising book prices in bookstores is becoming a major concern to both bookstore owners and their patrons. Read on to learn more and don't forget to vote on the poll located at the bottom of this blog page! (There are only TWO days left.)



Competition is Killing Independent U.S. Bookstores
By: Mark PorterNEW YORK (Reuters) - Empty shelves line a back wall of Coliseum Books in midtown Manhattan and a few customers flip through the remaining stock for bargains.

After more than three decades the independent bookseller is closing its doors -- one of many bookshops across the United States that have fallen victim to the Internet, chain stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble, and large discounters.

Since the early 1990s the number of independent bookstores in the United States has halved to about 2,500, according to a report in The New York Times.

Coliseum owner George Leibson said that while a lot of people were coming into the store to browse, they were not buying. Coliseum has spent the past four years on 42nd Street after moving from its home on 57th Street.

"We searched high and low for a high-traffic area, but it hasn't worked out," he said. "Chain-store sales and the Internet are far more practical. People will go to places closer to them. Places like Barnes & Noble."

Leibson also said that -- like the toy industry -- discounters such as Wal-Mart and Target have taken a big bite out of the bottom line of independent booksellers.

Maryann Wlock, a business manager, was a loyal customer of Coliseum when the store was located at 57th Street.

"I did all my shopping at Coliseum. But I never went to the new one on 42nd Street," she said. "I am loyal to Borders in the Time Life Building -- I get some great coupons and also get a credit based upon the money I spend with them each month."

Kate Bearce is closing her bookstore, Main Street Books, in Pella, Iowa, after 12 years of business.

"We have a Wal-Mart supercenter opening nearby soon. ... The Internet certainly takes a lot of sales" also, she said.

According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, retail sales at bookstores -- independent and chain stores -- were below 2005 levels in October for the fourth month in a row. At the end of October retail sales were down 1.8 percent for the year.

Bearce said the U.S. consumer needed to be educated about the importance of small businesses in the local economy. She said the customer will ultimately lose.

"Customer service is not the same. When somebody walks in this store I know them, their kids, their parents, their grandparents. I put books in their hands. That's what my customers really like," she said.

"I have many customers that tell me, 'If I send my kids to you, I know you will provide them with appropriate titles,'" said Bearce, adding that that kind of service cannot be duplicated at the bigger bookstores and discount outlets.

Deb Andolino, who is shutting Aliens & Alibis in Columbia, South Carolina, said lesser-known authors would suffer from the closures.

"If there's no one to recommend them to customers, they may not get their next book. And there's some really, really good mid-list authors out there," he said.

In New York, the closure of Coliseum has upset loyal customers.

"It's sad to see these little bookstores disappearing. I'm sorry to see it go. I used to go when it was on the West Side. ... I'm not happy," said a woman, who declined to give her name, as she searched for a bargain.

The original article can be found here: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20061226150748999

*****
Check back TOMORROW for the second part of this double feature, "The Expresso Book Machine!"

*****

Well, what do you think?
How do you prefer to read a book? Hardcover? Paperback? Audio? Ebook?
Where do you prefer to shop? Independent bookstore? Used bookstore? Franchise bookstore (Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc.)? Online?

32 comments:

  1. Personally, I prefer the library. :-) Good, old library. :-)

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  2. That's too bad. I can see why the small shops are special, but I admit, I shop at Amazon (discounted prices, convenient), Borders (coupons), or Barnes & Noble (kid loves the play area).

    I am loyal to books on paper. I don't like reading things electronically as much (even though I use the internet a lot). I like physically having the book. I feel like it's worth the extra money because the book lives on. You can give it to someone else or donate it to the library.

    Speaking of which, I love borrowing books from the library. Ours has a large selection with lots of new books, CDs, and DVDs because we can borrow from the entire county. I just browse the catalog online, request the books I want, and pick them up at my nearest branch after an email notification that they're ready. It's also a great way to find books that I really love and want to buy my own copy of.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by Love, Luci. Your blog is great. I just wish I had more time to read...I used to read all the time, now all I have time to read are captions under pictures. XOXO

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  5. The Creative Muslimah...I love being in the library and grabbing books for research, but I have never read a novel from there. I have issues with that. lol. See here for more details...http://whosyoureditor.blogspot.com/2010/12/discussion-topic-my-problem-with.html. I wrote a whole post on it!

    Gabby...Yes, I admit too that i do a lot of my book buying online. Lately though I have been going to bookstores. I just figure out when they are having little sales or go to the bargain book section (IT'S AWESOME!!!) Yeah, the library at my University does that book exchange thing. We can get books from onther Universities, Colleges, public libraries. It's cool.

    Slade...Thanks for the links and for following. please join in the discussions when you get a chance. i will come and check out your blog, but I'm not really on Facebook. I only use it to talk to family.

    Klove...No problem! lol. I have that feeling sometimes, where I really want to read, but I feel like I could maybe make it through a magazine article or a blog entry.

    Matt...That was a sad day!!! I had to drive to Midland just to get a bookstore!!! 30 minutes there! 30 minutes back! for a book! It was worth it though.

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  6. Im already a follower! I'd luv the follow back at
    http://www.beecute1.blogspot.com

    Happy new year!!

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  7. I know that you may be opposed to ebooks, but what about sites like Amazon that sell printed books?

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  8. It might be because I'm older than a lot of dirt lately, but I will always prefer the printed books. There's just something about curling up with a book wherever that kindles and nooks and ipads won't give me. My husband is big on hardbacks but I think that's because he's such a voracious reader that he's out of books to read and doesn't have the patience to wait for paperbacks.

    I on the other hand love paperbacks. They're easier to handle, smaller, and I'm able to "make them my own". I can tell which books I've read and which I haven't just by looking at the spine. I'm a "cracker" so every few chapters I push the book open so it cracks the spine and stays open more easily. That's another thing I love about books, silly really, but it's kinda like putting your own mark on the book so it's forever yours in some ways.

    Oh and all I really need is your e-mail sweetie I'm going to add you to the list of authors so my blog will show up on your dashboard and you can just click new post and write away when you're ready! You can send it to me on Webook if you want or at my email djpr@comcast.net. Thanks again I really appreciate you helping out and can't wait to read all my posts! :)

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  9. Ok cool. I just posted my email in a comment on your blog! That's a good idea because the emails I just sent you all returned with errors!!! I hate it!

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  10. Ooops! Sorry Matt. I did miss it. To answer your question...I'm not opposed to ebooks, I just prefer to read a paper book. And I do buy from Amazon just because it is so much cheaper and I buy so many books, but if i really want a certain book, I'll pay just about anything for it.

    It pretty much depends on how desperately I want to book, where I am (am i in town already or sitting in bed with my computer on my lap.) You know what I mean?

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  11. That book which you drove an hour for, was it available online? Or was it something that you couldn't wait to have?

    Some people I know are hardcore supporters of bookstores and will boycott websites.

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  12. I insist that my kids read paper books. They badly want Nook or Kindle but I think holding a book has a very unique experience. You can't wander around reading something else and it keeps you focused.

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  13. I dunno, my mind tends to wander when I read a book. I read the words, but my mind thinks of something else.

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  14. Matt...it was online but I had to have it immediately. I finished it the same day I go it too. I'm not rich enough to oppose websites that offer cheaper deals on books. Lol. Plus I buy too many dang books.

    Suertemom...I think that's a good idea. Some of those ereaders you can go online with and play games. It sort of defeats the purpose in my mind and it is distracting. Plus, there is notion wrong with holding a book. If it's a big book it will build muscles in your arms and hands. :)

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  15. I prefer holding a book and turning it's pages and seeing the pictures in my own head. I can not do that iwth ebooks or audio books.
    I think 'real books' will last for quite a while, but I think 'real bookstores' may not.at least not the smaller, independent ones. But I think enough people love to spend an afternoon in Border or B&N reading and sipping coffee- they will stay- and their online bersion. and those Half Price book stores seem popular. We have a $1 book store here. Like a big book garage sale. I'd rather pay $1 for a book then use the library it seems. No return dates and late fees is worth the measly $1 per book... but of course, I need the library and online B&N for specific books
    Plus there are textbooks. workbooks. how to books. that, I think so far, are best 'real/paper' for most people, even eBookers

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  16. How long is the book, Aubrie? I used to be able to read Goosebumps in one day.

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  17. I'm a new follower from More Love Monday. I would love it if you'd follow me back!

    http://thetypeahousewife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Kimberly...Agreed. I like to be holding the book. I so want a $1 bookstore!!! $1 is well worth not having to worry about returning the book or spending too much on a book you have not read or don't know if you are even going to like it. In the basement of one of our bookstores, they sell their advanced reader copies for anywhere from 2-5 dollars. That's pretty nice. And, yes, textbooks or research materials is about all I go to the library for.

    Matt...The book was 391 pages and it was AWESOME! If I am really enjoying a book, I won't stop until it's done. I've done this quite a few times. I did it with at least 2 of the Harry Potter books and one of the Twilight books.

    Ohkeeka...It's nice to have you here. Please join in the discussionw hen you get a chance. i promise that we don't bite. but I will come and check out your blog. :)

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  19. Woooooow. May I ask how long that took?

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  20. I started at 6PM and finished at 4AM with about a two hour break inbetween for hanging witht the roommates, eating, and homework.

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  21. I was impressed with myself, if I do say so :)

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  22. I love paper books and my house is complimented by a decent size library. But I work and live most of the time away from my house in a place where I have nowhere to put books, plus I ride a motorcycle so I can't easily carry books with me. However, I can download onto my phone or my computer hundreds of classic books, some I already own in hardcopy, and most of which I will eventually own, and I can read and browse through them at my leisure.

    Ebooks are the next evolution of literature. Just as Gutenberg brought books to the layman, so do institutions like "Project Gutenberg" break down barriers between the texts that are out there and the readers who might otherwise never read them.

    Some people don't like reading in digital form, but as I spend lot of time reading digital text anyways, ebooks are not much of a stretch for me. However, I will always own and continue to invest in hardcopy books to some degree.

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  23. Impressive. It's taken me 8 hours to read a shorter book.

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  24. Aubrie Anne==Thanks for visiting and leaving a note. I love books and will buy a cheap book or an expensive book but I won't give it away. For me, it is like a trophy or something...I need to have them around me for aesthetic reasons too. Something about reading the actual pages that an ebook couldn't do for me, I'm sure. What does make sense to me is when you go on a vacation you could take an ebook. Then, you have the ability to read many books without taking many books along. Good for that I suppose.

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  25. Patrick...Very nice. I LOVE having a mini library in my room. It's a beautiful thing. I agree that books are heading in a digital direction and as I hear it, the publishing companies are LOVING it because they don't have to worry about printing more books than they need, their costs are cheaper, they can publish more books, and they don't have to dispose of hardcopies that don't sell :)

    I too have an app on my book that gives me access to 20,000 classics (pretty cool). Plus, I spent the extra 4 or 5 dollars for the audio library as well.

    Still, I personlly prefer to read a book on paper. It's easier on my eyes and I love the feel. I, like you said, will always invest in paper books.

    Matt...Yeah, for me too as some times. It really depends on the time and the book.

    Teri...No problem. I love visiting your blog. I'm the same way. I buy books and then I have to keep them, although recently I was forced to get rid of a few books so i could fit the new ones on my shelf :(. I only got rid of ones I knew I would never ever read again. I told my friends what ones I was getting rid of in case they wanted some and then I sold the others to a used book store that gives you 10% of the retail value in store credit. That way, I can just buy MORE :) I now have about a $25 dollar credit which is AWESOME because books there are usually only around $5. :)

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