Thursday, August 5, 2010

Go Ahead, Blame Me for Barnes and Noble Going Up For Sale

This weeks news that Barnes and Noble has been placed up for sale is a bit disturbing, but I guess I am fully to blame. Since the release of the first Kindle I don’t think I have purchased one paper book. I still enjoy going into Barnes and Noble and other large bookstores but I usually only purchase magazines or blu-ray discs (I am starting to buy more digital videos now) when I am there. I do scan the isles for future e-book purchases but don’t purchase any of the paper books. It isn’t that I don’t like paper books. I do. I love the feel of them and the smell but I have come to the point where it is easier for me to read books on my iPad, iPhone, or Kindle.
The publishing and bookstore industry should have been ready for this day. However it doesn’t appear any lessons were learned from the music and video industries. And even if they did I am not sure they could stop, what I am sure is to come. 
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and over the last several years we have seen Tower Records and Virgin Records both go out of business. I would really hate to see either Barnes and Noble or Borders go out of business. But, like the book stores, in both cases with Tower Records and Virgin, I would visit the stores often but would never make a purchase. I haven’t purchased a CD in many many years. So I guess I am also to blame for the demise of the music stores too.
I am not sure what can be done. Maybe the bookstores can offer the e-book version of a book along with the physical book. I wouldn’t mind actually owning the paper book along with electronic book. Or maybe they can offer a deeper discount if say you bring your digital book reader into the store and make a purchase. What won’t work is only offering the paper book or jacking up the e-book price. I have an entire list of e-books I have currently passed on due to the higher ‘agency model’ pricing. The publishing and bookstore industries really need to step outside the box in order to survive in our digital age. Any other ideas you can think of to help keep the bookstores alive? In the meantime you can blame me for the demise of the music and book stores vanishing around the world. I guess all I can say is, sorry, but only e-books for me!

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