Fuse #8

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Color Me Skeptical

The latest in the "Death of the Book" cries of doom. Only this time it's a "Death of the Bookstore" cry. Slightly more interesting. Slightly more ridiculous.

Thanks to Bookseller Chick for the link.


At 10:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As noted in comments on the post you credit, this is a British article by a singularly British person about British bookstores (and British publishers). To some extent, it's like reading articles about the Downfall of Public Libraries--when they're from Britain. It may be a similar language, but it's a very different country.

At the same time, I have a lot of trouble with the "pity the publishers" idea, and the idea that [presumably the big entrenched] publishers should have the power. (Wot about the readers, sez 'e?)

PoD is already having an impact, mostly indirectly (that's how we get 50,000+ "publishers" in the U.S.: many, perhaps most, fulfill orders via the big PoD operations, e.g. Lightning Source. There are now at least two companies pushing on-site PoD machines--one at $18,000 for libraries and other nonprofits, $36,000 elsewhere; the other at $100,000 for bookstores and other commercial operations.

But PoD is no more likely to destroy bookstores than Amazon. Impact them? Yes. Maybe undermine the awful ones (and the published rant seems to imply that all of them in the UK are awful, which seems unlikely)? Yes. Eliminate them? Amazon's founder is (I believe) on record saying that online booksales are likely to peak at 15-20% of all booksales; that leaves a pretty healthy market for retail outlets that know what they're doing.


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