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 Post subject: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:19 pm 
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I don't pretend to follow book industry news with much more than a defeated, despondent shrug, but this article brings a lot of it home. It's about the demise of Barnes & Noble, which you might well hate. Regardless, B&N going down will likely bring down a lot of other stuff, too.

I'm not ready to say good-bye to the Age of Books!

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:48 pm 
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FootFace, figures generally show that while print sales are declining, total print and digital sales are rising and that indie bookstores are actually doing better business than they have since big box stores entered the market. People are still reading and still reading hard copy books. So there's the glass half-full look.


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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:51 pm 
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i'd say that, counterintuitively, amazon has been the worst thing to ever happen to book lovers, because they have so much clout. they've killed sales in brick-and-mortar book stores, and they dominate the online market, so now they can essentially dictate price points to publishers, which makes it harder for publishers to turn a continuous, significant profit, which makes it harder for them to publish and distribute books. amazon are basically the walmart of booksellers (i know walmart sells some books; you get what i'm saying). i fear that someday no major publisher will ever want to publish a book that couldn't be made into a blockbuster 3-D movie, because otherwise the investment just won't be worth it.

BUT, the end of large book stores, or even of book publishers, will not be the end of writing. there has been a return to indie stores, maybe as part of the whole local everything movement. and similar changes in the music industry were scary for a minute, but i think it's actually easier now for a band to build a fan base and make a living because of the internet and the fact that people find music in new ways. you don't necessarily need the backing of a major label to become a star anymore. maybe something similar will happen in the literary world.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:59 pm 
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acr wrote:
i'd say that, counterintuitively, amazon has been the worst thing to ever happen to book lovers, because they have so much clout. they've killed sales in brick-and-mortar book stores, and they dominate the online market, so now they can essentially dictate price points to publishers, which makes it harder for publishers to turn a continuous, significant profit, which makes it harder for them to publish and distribute books. amazon are basically the walmart of booksellers (i know walmart sells some books; you get what i'm saying). i fear that someday no major publisher will ever want to publish a book that couldn't be made into a blockbuster 3-D movie, because otherwise the investment just won't be worth it.

BUT, the end of large book stores, or even of book publishers, will not be the end of writing. there has been a return to indie stores, maybe as part of the whole local everything movement. and similar changes in the music industry were scary for a minute, but i think it's actually easier now for a band to build a fan base and make a living because of the internet and the fact that people find music in new ways. you don't necessarily need the backing of a major label to become a star anymore. maybe something similar will happen in the literary world.

Yes, the one thing that terrifies me is that Amazon is trying to break into publishing. I'm absolutely confident that there will be some kind of book culture 50 years from now. I'm not sure how well-edited, -proofread, -indexed, and -designed those books will be. Though I suppose indexes aren't as important in digital works if that's where the market moves.


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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:14 pm 
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Yeah, I think whatever happens with actual books, people still enjoy the escapism, want to be educated, whatevs and the purpose of books will live on, whatever future form they take. I still like words on paper, though. I think I always will.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:27 pm 
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It is interesting that they list the cities and various articles, for the one in Virginia (NOVA, DC area), B&N is denying it was them, but I don't think I believe B&N here.
http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/201 ... irfaxTimes

Quote:
According to Barnes & Noble, the bookstore bent over backwards in an attempt to be able to remain in Reston but Spectrum Center’s owners were unwilling to renew the lease.

“We tried extremely hard to come to an agreement with the property owner to extend the lease at our Reston location, but despite our offering significant additional rent, the property owner was unwilling to agree to an extension,” said David Deason, vice president of development at Barnes & Noble.

But according to Spectrum Center’s owners, Barnes & Noble tried to get a rent reduction in their new lease and when they were told they were contractually obligated to pay a certain price, the bookstore decided instead to leave.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:33 pm 
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I guess we'll know by how quickly they fill the space, and with what. Those big box spaces usually sit vacant quite a while, even in the busy centers.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:35 pm 
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Well apparently the discussions had gone for over a year so they were able to get the Container store. So there won't be empty space there but I think that they would've probably have preferred to keep B&N. B&Ns tend to bring a bit of traffic to shopping centers, even if people aren't buying books.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:38 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
Yeah, I think whatever happens with actual books, people still enjoy the escapism, want to be educated, whatevs and the purpose of books will live on, whatever future form they take. I still like words on paper, though. I think I always will.


Yes to all of this. A sidenote: I understand the appeal of having your whole library on a e-reader device, but it's not for me. I like the tactility of books, and I'm not entirely convinced that e-readers are somehow more environmentally friendly than printing paper books. Also, a paper book is not a huge financial investment, and if the book world were to go digital, that would leave a lot of people behind. I'll keep buying paper books until it's not an option anymore, and then I'll cry.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:40 pm 
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About Amazon going into publishing / encouraging self published ebooks: I can't help but fear it would mean not only poorer quality books (because poor editing, research etc), but also less diversity, because the only books you'd hear about would be the well-marketed ones, the ones buzzing in your corner of the internet. I mean, how many "50 shades of grey" do we need? I've discovered and enjoyed countless novels and young authors just because they were published by a house or collection whose judgment I trust.


YA author John Green has thoughts on the matter:

http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/p ... and-amazon


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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:56 pm 
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aelle wrote:
About Amazon going into publishing / encouraging self published ebooks: I can't help but fear it would mean not only poorer quality books (because poor editing, research etc), but also less diversity, because the only books you'd hear about would be the well-marketed ones, the ones buzzing in your corner of the internet. I mean, how many "50 shades of grey" do we need? I've discovered and enjoyed countless novels and young authors just because they were published by a house or collection whose judgment I trust.


YA author John Green has thoughts on the matter:

http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/p ... and-amazon


Although I read and buy ebooks, I refuse to buy anything self published. The reason being that I don't want to waste my time reading a rough draft. Sure there may be some talented authors out there that can write and edit their own books successfully but it seems that they would be a rarity. What we might see emerge (and may already have) are ebook publishers that are selective about books and provide editing services although yes that would mean increased cost but it seems worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:23 pm 
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just fyi, i've been approached as an editor by authors who are planning to self-publish; some of them do recognize the value of a professional review or a second set of eyes. but i recognize that they are probably very much the minority.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:47 pm 
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paprikapapaya wrote:
seitanicverses wrote:
Yeah, I think whatever happens with actual books, people still enjoy the escapism, want to be educated, whatevs and the purpose of books will live on, whatever future form they take. I still like words on paper, though. I think I always will.

I like the tactility of books, and I'm not entirely convinced that e-readers are somehow more environmentally friendly than printing paper books.



I read that they aren't better for the environment unless you read more than like a new purchased book a week. If you get used books or libraries and still read that much, they don't. However, the impact of the electronics was generally bigger than lots and lots of paper books.

What I really wanted one for was for replacing printed PDFs for classes. I never printed so I had a hard time joining in discussions, because I didn't have my reference. It would also be great to replace huge textbooks.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:59 pm 
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I think the B&N model is flawed. Too unflexible for the time we live in, to stuck in older practices.

I'm lucky enough to live somewhere with a large number of indie stores, so I support those with a passion and hope that they are the future for bookselling and book culture. I just hope that there are enough other people who feel the same way.


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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:51 pm 
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lycophyte wrote:
the impact of the electronics was generally bigger than lots and lots of paper books.


I'm not sure I get this. I read on my phone. I love that I can read at night without a light and hold it in one hand and "turn pages" while the other hand is busy with cats. If I weren't reading a book, I would be reading news. It's a device I have anyway. Is this still more impact than a book?

(We make our own electricity, so that maybe factors in?)


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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:59 pm 
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Until everyone has equal access to the internet, print books are unlikely to disappear. There is still a huge digital divide in the US. For many people, their internet access is limited to the library.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:11 pm 
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A friend wrote her graduate thesis on which was harder on the environment, ebooks or print books. I'll have to ask her the conclusion she reached.

I like both ebooks and real books, but if I am buying a book, I have been making an effort to go to an independent bookseller. And as someone who works specifically with print publishing, I really, really hope it doesn't go anywhere. I am thinking about taking ebook production courses or something though...

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:24 am 
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i worked at Borders for 7ish years in the late 90s and early 2000s and seeing firsthand how shittily the business was run i was not surprised to see it go out of business.

from what i understand from people who have worked at both B&N was pretty much the same only they treated their employees worse. (hard to believe)

i think the only thing B&N did better was handing the digital onslaught but really it was more of a band aid than competing. i dont know how physical bookstores are supposed to compete with Amazon and ebooks. i mean if you have an ereader why would you ever bother walking into a bookstore? especially since amazon has summaries and the "look inside" feature for a lot of books??

i feel like a bit of a luddite but i dont own an ereader despite every Xmas my husband being convinced he should buy me one and me having to tell me NO I DONT WANT ONE. i worked in a bookstore for so long i still have enough books to last me through armageddon. that's my only real reason. once i actually read most of the books in my house i probably would get an ereader though i too do like the tactile feel of a book. but at the same time i resisted mp3s for a long time and now i realized there is no reason for me to buy physical cds anymore so i have converted to buying mp3 albums

on the occasion i do want a new book i just order it from amazon. so even for me (a non-ereader person) amazon is still better.

when Borders was going out of business and had their liquidation sale i went to the local one a few times and checked out some books. every single time i found a book i was interested in my husband scanned it wtih the amazon app on his phone and despite the liquidation sale it was STILL CHEAPER on amazon.

most people dont have "brand loyalty" to a big box chain store so they are gonna go with whatever is cheapest. plus amazon has free shipping on certain things (or maybe that is because we have a prime account?)

i do hope indie bookstores survive. they may have the "brand loyalty" that the big box stores dont. if i had an indie bookstore near me i might want to go patronize them rather than ordering from amazon. but im lazy so im not 100% sure on that one.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:17 am 
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~Sz wrote:
lycophyte wrote:
the impact of the electronics was generally bigger than lots and lots of paper books.


I'm not sure I get this. I read on my phone. I love that I can read at night without a light and hold it in one hand and "turn pages" while the other hand is busy with cats. If I weren't reading a book, I would be reading news. It's a device I have anyway. Is this still more impact than a book?

(We make our own electricity, so that maybe factors in?)

some of these analyses are cradle-to-grave for the product and drawn out over the lifetime of the user, so it's the energy you use while you own and operate your phone/e-reader, but also all of the energy and material that went into creating it and transporting it for sale, plus the impact of its disposal, multiplied by however many you're likely to own as a result of upgrades or product malfunction/normal wear and tear. one book will probably last a person a lifetime, but electronic devices tend to get replaced often.

ndpittman, i'm really curious about your friend's work on this. i don't have or want an e-reader, but i've had philosophical conversations about this subject with various people. it might be nice to have some actual research to refer to.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:34 am 
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LisaPunk wrote:
i dont know how physical bookstores are supposed to compete with Amazon and ebooks. i mean if you have an ereader why would you ever bother walking into a bookstore? especially since amazon has summaries and the "look inside" feature for a lot of books??


It's a completely different experience browsing for books in a bookstore (or library) and browsing online. It's much easier to pick up random Romance novels (or another genre) at the bookstore until you see one that interests you than to do the same thing online. Online, you get a lot more extraneous information to wade through. A lot of people browse in physical bookstores, but end up buying online. At one point, Amazon tried to capitalize on this by offering further discounts to people who did this using their price comparison app, which really pissed off indies.


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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:36 am 
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Here's some of her basic findings, but if anyone would like more information, she's willing to share sources, etc.
Quote:
I found that e-readers are worse for the environment because of all the plastic pieces used to make it. These plastic pieces, while being made, give off fumes that can affect people’s health and the environment.
There are new ereaders being created constantly with no recycling for old ones. When these get thrown out, the plastics seep into the ground and water supply for people. Some ereaders gets shipped to 3rd world countries to be destroyed and people have ended up with health issues. Also carbon footprint with ereaders is higher because a high majority is made in Asia and then are shipped here

Re: books. There is a lot of waste when creating paper- we use lots of water and destroy some forests. There are bigger strides to use only certain forests that were created specifically for paper making. There are a lot of printers who are doing their best to use soy ink, recycled paper, and offset carbon footprints.

I found more issues on health and environment being impacted with ereaders.

If you need specifics on anything- my thesis is at home

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:02 am 
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Barnes Ignoble.

That's what I call them.

I'm pretty clever.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:08 am 
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mollyjade wrote:
LisaPunk wrote:
i dont know how physical bookstores are supposed to compete with Amazon and ebooks. i mean if you have an ereader why would you ever bother walking into a bookstore? especially since amazon has summaries and the "look inside" feature for a lot of books??


It's a completely different experience browsing for books in a bookstore (or library) and browsing online. It's much easier to pick up random Romance novels (or another genre) at the bookstore until you see one that interests you than to do the same thing online. Online, you get a lot more extraneous information to wade through. A lot of people browse in physical bookstores, but end up buying online. At one point, Amazon tried to capitalize on this by offering further discounts to people who did this using their price comparison app, which really pissed off indies.

I have a Kindle, but I still buy paper books regularly and there's nothing like wandering around a bookstore browsing, which I still do because I enjoy it. I probably have found books that interested me in a bookstore and then bought them later on amazon, but not by design (like, not to save money, more just because I don't buy everything I want the minute that I first want it... so later on I might come back around to something that I wanted and then buy it a different way.) I don't think I have ever used amazon's look inside feature to decide whether or not to buy a book, only to see if a recipe in a book I already have is available online when I'm not at home. I don't find that feature to be remotely like picking a book off a shelf and flipping through it.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:41 am 
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I got a Kindle Paperwhite (my first kindle) a few months ago and since I've gotten it, I notice I read so much more so for me, I think it is a great thing. Amazon allows you to borrow 1 book 'for free' from them. Any book over 75 (?) years old can be part of Project Gutenburg and thus distributed for free and I watch their sales. I have a lot of books already on my 'wishlist'. They are either books I'd buy at a cheaper price or books I'd want to borrow from Amazon.

It is nice when going on a trip, you just grab one thing rather than mulling over the books you have or even going on a short trip, if we are in a rush, I just grab the kindle and I can read in the car. We go visit my husband's parents and it is a 2 hour drive so its nice to have something to read on hand, both to there and coming back (when it is darker). Yesterday, I lost power for nearly 4 hours and it was dark for over 3 hours of that time. I read my kindle (it has lighting) and didn't worry too much about the fact that I didn't have power.

I still buy paper books though. Cookbooks mostly will be paper for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Doom and gloom in the world of books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:59 am 
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acr + ndp: Thank you! This is good information and food for thought. My mind has been opened!


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