Wednesday, January 26, 2011


B&N let 45-50 people go last week, most of whom were buyers. The company claimed that they were focusing more on digital operations. Uh-huh. This is one quote by a publisher: "The growth in digital is great, but someone has to be in charge of getting books into the stores." Books? What are books?

At the beginning of this month B&N announced "solid gains" in the physical book category for holiday sales. PW wrote: "B&N said that sales of physical books, especially hardcovers, exceeded expectations." Yes, digital books will continue to GROW, much more so than their physical counterparts. This is because they're new. They're different. They're exciting. There is plenty of room for growth. Books have been around for a long, long time. But one can't expect ebooks to keep upping on the graph for ever and ever. There will come a point when the ebooks plateau. The question is when and at what point? We know where the physical book stands. The ebook is still a gamble. A big one. I don't think physical books and bookstores and book buyers and booksellers should be disposed of. Big, big mistake.


  1. I'm really enjoying your new blog, Meghan!

    Regarding the above topic: I was recently talking with a friend about the future of digital books, speculating that in the coming years physical book buying will be left to collectors and fetishists -- similar to people who listen to music on vinyl today.

    I don't think I'm the first person to try to predict publishing's future by looking at the music industry. My friend, however, pointed out a fallacy in that comparison: books, unlike music, do not require an apparatus to enjoy. Music is beholden to whatever technology a person owns (be it tape deck or iPod), and like all technology, those devices are bound to become more advanced. Books, on the other hand, have remained pretty much unchanged in the last 600 years.

    Sort of gives me hope.

  2. Yeah, I have hope as well. First of all: art book collectors, such as myself, will NEVER want their books digitally. Many, many book readers like the feel of the paper, they like to hold the book in their hands, and they like to put the book on their bookshelves when they’re done. As my friend said recently, “I wouldn’t get the satisfaction of seeing a big book finished if it were digital.” I have enough digital stuff. I can’t handle another thing to charge! All of my stuff is constantly out of battery juice. AT LEAST my book doesn’t die!

    There are so many reasons why I think books will not go away. This is a fad. And I think it’s a fad mostly hyped up by people who aren’t big book readers. They are gadget people.

    Lastly, I can’t imagine cuddling at bedtime with an ipad with your 3 year old! Yuck!