More bad news for readers

Tom Jackson
Jan 8, 2013

 

 

I'm still getting over the loss of the Borders book chain, but the decline of the physical bookstore may not end there. A couple of recent blog postings on the Internet highlight the fact that Barnes and Noble, the remaining big bookstore chain, also is in trouble. (If you shop in the Cleveland area, you've probably noticed the B & N in the Crocker Park shopping center.)
 
On the MobyLives book blog, writer Dennis Johnson waves goodbye to the chain, predicting confidently that B & N is getting out of the brick and mortar bookstore business. At Slate, Matthew Yglesias isn't optimistic, either. "And make no mistake, Barnes & Noble is in deep trouble," he writes.
 
Part of Barnes & Noble's woes is that its migration to ebooks and Nooks isn't going well. The company had a bad holiday season, and sales of the Nook dropped 12.6 percent.
 
One bit of positive news: Books-A-Million Inc., the company who took over the old  Borders location at Sandusky Mall, seems to be doing OK. It's a smaller chain, but it has 257 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia. 

Comments

tk

That certainly is sad news. I am 75 years old and I have loved books since I was a child. There is nothing better than curling up with a good book on a cold winter day. I can't imagine curling up with an e-reader. I have hundreds of books even after giving away bags full to Goodwill this fall. Guess I will be keeping the rest. On the brighter side of getting old and losing your memory, you can reread all of your books since you can't remember the plot.

Contango

@ Mr. Jackson:

Take heart!

A recent article in the WSJ says that the e-book hype may be exaggerated.

"A 2012 survey revealed that just 16% of Americans have actually purchased an e-book."

"Don't Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay":

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB...

The Bizness

I have read more in the past 2 years since I bought a kindle than ever in the past...so while printed books, and smaller boutique book stores will stick around ebooks are the future. Like it or not, but you are a conservative and the future scares the heck out of you.

BW1's picture
BW1

You don't really own any of the books you bought on your Kindle - they can remotely delete them without warning (and have done so.) When you are finished reading them, you can't transfer your faux ownership to another party. If you highlight or annotate your copy, that information belongs to Amazon to use as they wish.

Based on your posting history, this is what I might expect from you. As a statist and collectivist, you don't value ownership, privacy, or autonomy.

The Bizness

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal information.

Contango

@ The Bizness:

And based on your purely anecdotal evidence you can divine the future - good for you.

starryeyes83

Let's see.... ya can take a paperback anywhere, read outside and ya don't have to burn any kind of electricity to use it.

I remember those days.

shucks

Yeah ,and you can accidentlly sit on it or drop it and not bust it.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It is good that BAM is fairing well as I refer people there often. Books can be a rough business to be in and certainly electronic formats are one of several contributing factors. Citing specifically our roleplaying book selection, our primary brand "Dungeons and Dragons" had an electronic counterpart to all of their print material. I have sold significantly less D&D books since access to all the content online was made available. As it is a subscription service to the manufacturer, Wizards of the Coast (subsidy of Hasbro), all the money goes to them without a direct return to the stores that purchase books to line their shelves in the hopes they will be more than wallpaper. Not to just pick on D&D/WotC but many other RPG makers are going the way of the PDF and selling through markets like DriveThruRPG.com or just funding boutique projects through Kickstarter.

Conversely, with comics, at least the big two producers of them have introduced electronic copies. But, you must purchase the hard copy first to get the download code. It was done to very deliberately encourage comic enthusiasts to continue patronizing their local shop. While I am sure they do offer direct-download subscriptions at the Marvel or DC sites the usual standard practice in these communities is to go to your FLGS (friendly local game store).

I am not familiar with the circulation numbers of the Register locally, but even daily print media (newspapers/magazines) and not just books are waning. I am certain that print will never go away, and it shouldn't, but with the vast stores of information readily available at the tip of a finger it is often easier and more economical to simply refer to credible sources, opinion pieces, or ideas online. We will see more laptops and tablets in schools at is ultimately less expensive to use those instead of buying thousands of hardbacks that can't be updated to include new lessons or even have errors or omissions corrected.

Just as well, I am aching to talk to the Sandusky Superintendent about these points and offer a few ideas to help the school ease into it while saving it money. Just as well, because we are living in a digital age of fluid information (not necessarily credible) a focus should be shifted not just from what you should know but "how" you should know what you read and see. Almost akin to what I believe journalism courses would teach. If you aren't a discerning infonaut then you will easily fall into manipulation and false conclusions not even through fault of your own (or if you are an evil genius you use the ignorance of the masses to control thought by feeding them info they won't/don't know how to question).

The case for print here is that since it costs more in time and effort to print and distribute books, the content is usually considered more credible else why would the author/publisher put ink to page? Just remember, and this is coming from a big geek, Wikipedia is NOT a credible source (though it may be able to give you a direction in which to find one). Happy reading, learning, and imagining!

Centauri

Hello Tom Jackson,

I always look for your comments and news stories. I own several hundred books and also get books from the library.

Why is it that my printed books and the same online books often are not the same but are edited? Perhaps the powers that be are trying to change history?

Not in my book(s).

AnotherHuronResident

Still read paper copies but order on Amazon - cheaper and easier for me with small kids. Also I get books at the library.

phroggy

Until the cost of an electronic copy of a book equals that of a used paperback, my Kindle will stay in my drawer unused. Yes, I'm aware that I can go to the library but am I mistaken that there is, like any book at the library, a time limit that you possess the book? It takes me a month or two to read through a 500 page book. I love to read but don't always have the time. I just don't see the reason to charge $8 for a book when publishing costs are a mere 10% of what they used to be. Used books are just fine for me.

Benent

I

OSUBuckeye59

The number of e-readers aged 16 years and older jumped from 16 per cent in 2011 to 23 per cent last year, while print readers fell from 72 to 67 per cent in 2012, in a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

I was born and raised in Sandusky, but have been living in the Portland, OR area since '89, where we have one of the best brick & mortar bookstores in the country: Powell's. The main store, located in an upscale area of Portland known as the Pearl District, not only sells new and used books, but purchases used books to the extent that Powell's staffs a desk full-time with multiple workers to purchase used books. I've both bought and sold books several times at Powell's, and have a few friends who when visiting Portland take most of a day browsing and purchasing print books from Powell's.

E-readership is definitely increasing, but there will always be a niche market for those who enjoy the experience of flipping paper pages.