Would you open a bookstore today?
The marketing of the written word has come a long way since the Gutenberg Bible. Historically speaking, from the years 1455 to 2010, looking into how and where books are read and sold could make for an interesting book in itself.
But no doubt, the recent history of the bookseller and book buyer seems to be moving faster than any world record-holding speed reader.
The New York Times today not only covered the quick change strategy that’s going on at Barnes & Noble but also had another story that pretty much summed up the ongoing change of the book market today. In another story, none other than author Pete Hamill announced that his next book, a tome about immigration, would skip print and go directly to digital, coming out as an e-book. Hamill, who admitted to never having read an e-book himself, questions how an author can have a book signing? Hmmm! Book signings, book stores, book shelves libraries, little by little, the way it was in the book industry yesterday is not the way it is today nor will be tomorrow.
Not surprisingly, independent bookstores struggle to hold on let alone build their business. That said, it is still nice to visit Long Island shops like Book Revue in Huntington, Port Washington’s Dolphin Bookshop (check out their wonderful new location), and New York City’s own classics including the Strand, St. Marks, Three Lives & Company Book Stores among the other still in business independents.
Yet thanks to the e-book growing success of the Amazon Kindle, the Apple i-Pad and the Barnes & Noble Nook, perhaps a whole new population of readers is being developed and nurtured.
The fact is e-book sales are up and growing fast. Authors are financially benefitting from e-book sales. What’s more, without a doubt, the education market will soon welcome the text e-book especially on the college level as professors and students look to trade in the conceptually heavy $100+ textbooks for the convenience of e-books.
Visiting any library today makes it very clear how impactful the Internet and e-book concept has started to take over the industry. Sure, people will still say they love to hold a real book. Visitors to bookstores no doubt still enjoy the browsing experience that comes from walking through the aisles and then sitting down with a hard cover book, and maybe even enjoying a bookstore brewed cup of coffee.
Yet look how quickly major magazines have embraced the online world through Internet and App distribution of their articles. Surely, books as we know them today will always be around, but you probably wouldn’t bet on the popularity of hard and soft cover books increasing in the decades ahead.
It’s a pretty safe assumption that the digital world of e-books will thrive in the short and foreseeable future.
By the way, anybody want to take an educated guess on how soon the 1455 Gutenberg Bible will become an e-book?