I love this article, but mostly because I love bookstores. Your point is well-taken, though.
“But each of these companies is now suffering for a good reason. Their dominance led to arrogance, and they decided to [impose all sorts of heavy-handed policies on users.]”(How Web Platforms Collapse: The Facebook Case Study)
The unfortunate comparison is that prices would not likely to go down with this model.
I would love it if independent book stores could compete with supermarkets and Amazon.
Unfortunately I’m not helping them. I will buy where it’s sold for the lowest price
DS won some vouchers for a lovely little independent book store in a nearby town. The whole experience of visiting it was utterly charming. It was just like you would imagine Flourish and Blotts to look. Amongst his haul, he picked up a book for £11.99 (the printed RRP) that took a big chunk of his voucher. Two days later we saw the same book for sale in Asda for £4. I don’t know how the independent shops survive.
Our B&Ns does local author meets and book signings on Saturdays. It’s fun!
They are an experience.
I use bookshop.org to support our local bookstores, without going in person. Highly recommend!
Hopefully enough people align their spending to their values to support local businesses.
I know we buy too much crap, partly because it’s so cheap. And then it sits gathering dust in our house. Although progress is slow, I’m working on buying fewer, but higher quality, items that I will actually use. But it’s a long road (for me). Part of it is a conscious decision that some things are more important than price.
I am also trying this. I shop local when I can. And now on Amazon you can see if the seller is a “small business”. I don’t like clutter. I regularly clean house and send things to donation. It has occurred to me that if I quit buying things on a whim or things that a cheap because I only want to use them once, I wouldn’t have to do this so often and I would be being more environmentally friendly.
I think the reality is far more complex than the article implies. I have no doubt that the changes made have helped, but there are other factors…including the fact that a great many people have grown dissatisfied with ebooks as a means of reading. It was a novel idea, but one that hasn’t panned out long term.
Also, B&N is “benefitting” from the pandemic as well…where more people stuck at home rediscovered a love for reading. As restrictions eased, people sick of being cooped inside and limited to everything online wanted more “experience” with touching books, etc. Browsing for books online has never been as satisfying…and the offerings you can find in places like grocery stores and similar small selections were limited to the same heavily pushed/marketed “bestsellers”…which didn’t mean they were actually good!
This is where B&N has been able to benefit. Not simply because of the local control of what books to push, as the article suggests, but in being in the right position to offer a great in person selection.
Having said that…the model they are switching to makes B&N a bit more like an independent bookseller, but with the ability to scale better. Many people choose independent booksellers for that more personal experience. Such customers are book lovers, and are looking for quality over quantity. B&N appears like they have become mindful of that and is drawing in more customers as a result.
It does make me want to head out to our local B&N!
I try to shop local, but more and more I’ll go to 3-6 stores and still not find what I’m looking for. Then I get frustrated and order online. I live near one of the largest cities in the US; if I can’t find stuff here, I can’t imagine trying to find stuff in small towns.
I’m a physical book lover; I’m a heavy library user. However, as my eyes are aging I’m finding being able to increase font size on my Kindle to be absolutely necessary.
That’s definitely an advantage.
I have the Kindle app, and have read a few books using it. But always prefer the physical book. (I’ve read a bit using the Hoopla app as well, which allows me to check books out through our library.)
But I just don’t think that ebook readers have ended up being as game-changing as once believed. Briefly, yes. But the shift back toward physical books is revealing that, given a choice, people are preferring physical copies. Still…ebooks are definitely here to stay.
Years ago, when Sam Walton was alive and actively growing Walmart he was a direct competitor to our small mom and pop sundries store and soda fountain. I detested Walmart even more when Sam replied to a reporter that anyone could adopt his business model and prosper equally.
No. He had a spouse sensible enough to keep the home business churning while he traveled around in the family station wagon, savvily buying up enormous quantities of large ladies under drawers - or whatever - to sell at unheard of discounts.
We were not set up that way. For one thing, we didn’t have a station wagon.
During the early to mid 70s I watched as small town America discovered shopping as a leisure activity. Especially shopping at Walmart. Cuz what’s on sale there this week?!!
Thank you for the bookshop link. I have 7 or 8 books to replace, hoping for specific printings.
I swore I would never be an eReader. I remember when I went on trips as a kid, I had one bag just for my books. I begged my father to take me to Waldenbooks whenever the newest was set to hit stores. Before DS, I loved just taking my bookcase apart and reorganizing everything in it. I got my first Kindle about 7 years ago. I now have just a handful of actual books and my Kindle is chock full. I love that I can easily read my Kindle Paperwhite in bed with the soft lighting. I’ve converted all the book readers in my family - mom, dad and sister. Also lightened up DS’s book bag with his own Kindle when he was lugging around the giant Harry Potter books! I am a complete convert.
Have you tried requesting large print copies from your library? They’re fantastic!
Unfortunately, very little I read is available in large print. I will read the LP version when it’s available.
When I travelled a lot for work I loved having my books on an e-reader because itnwas so much easier to have with me. I made sure to use the ereader and not my phone so DD would know I was reading books. But I have missed books amd decided to switch back. But now I have the vision problem.
My DH discovered audible. He loves listening to books. I know there is a whole subset of people who now listen to their books thanks to audible and libraries having a huge selection of read books.
Noooo!!! Please let your library know when they don’t have a book you need. I know budgets are super tight but librarians want to have books available for everyone.
I listen to 90% of books i “read” on audible, etc. I can get through more books faster that way. I’m a very slow reader and have poor reading comprehension but at 2x speed audio I can comprehend just about everything.
Sure, I can submit the request to buy a book, wait months or years. Or I can get it via Kindle. Same with borrowing ebooks from the library. I rarely find a title I’m looking for and when I do there’s a long wait.