Evolution

Bookseller Evolution

Would you buy a Kindle from an independent bookstore? Amazon hopes so. Independent booksellers, perhaps not so much.
Still, Amazon is hoping to bring booksellers in as partners in its own sales efforts, which is understandable. Booksellers may feel they’ve been battered enough by Amazon’s power in the marketplace, and may resist this offer. But since…

Cute female author with vintage typewriter

The Amazon Imprint

Can Amazon’s publishing imprint work?
That’s a question raised by the departure of Larry Kirshbaum, who headed Amazon’s New York-based publishing imprint. According to a report in the New York Times, this is a sign that Amazon’s imprint has “failed to meet expectations,” which is a vague way of attributing expectations to Amazon or to observers and…

The Changing Library

Libraries are places where you use the computer, meet people, look something up. Oh, and borrow books.
According to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “Libraries in the Digital Age,” the majority of Americans find that borrowing books is an important service. And 73% borrow printed books, while 53% of those surveyed…

The Enduring Passion for Bookstores

Whither bookstores?
This year, Borders Books closed and shut down its approximately 400 stores. Some of that business has migrated elsewhere: to Barnes & Noble, to online retailers and to independent bookstores.
Recent reports have shown that this season, bookstores are reporting actually showing increased sales in the face of the e-book onslaught.
A controversial essay in the…

The Evil Librarian in an E-Universe

Libraries are a problem for publishers.
They loan books.
Of course, they buy books, and for e-books, they buy the rights to distribute e-books a certain number of times.
Yet publishers still struggle to find the right economic model to work with libraries.
This is not an issue that can be brushed away, or dealt with harshly, as Penguin…

Saving Bookstores, One Author at a Time small

Saving Bookstores, One Author at a Time

Authors to the rescue.
The bestselling novelist Ann Patchett has opened a bookstore in Nashville. The author of such novels as Bel Canto and State of Wonder is the force behind Parnassus Books. With bookstores closing in her area, as in many others around the country, she didn’t want her neighborhood to be barren of the…

The Fading Bookstore

“In-store business has all but disappeared,” explained Greg Ketter in a letter explaining the shuttering of his retail store DreamHaven in Minneapolis at the end of January. The store is closing its brick-and-mortar operation, but keeping its online business. It’s another sign of the fading of the actual bookstore experience. Which is a pity.
Sure, people…

A Virtual Fight where the Consumer Loses

It’s getting ugly out there.
Not that publishing has ever been pretty. But as the ground trembles around the seismic shifts of e-books, e-tail and e-everything, publishers and retailers are battling one another for a share of the market with a new ferocity. And it’s brick-and-mortrar versus e-tail.
First, Amazon banned a publisher for a while over…

The Digital Tipping Point

We’re at a tipping point in the distribution of entertainment.
Soon, almost everything will come to us when we want it, in digital form.
Following electronic readers from Sony, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, we’re likely to have a new tablet-style computer from Apple by the end of the first quarter of next year that is likely…

Why Amazon Isn’t the Only Game in Town

Last week I wrote about the strong-arm tactics Amazon.com is using to force POD publishers into using BookSurge for printing. BookSurge is an Amazon company, bought in 2004, for its POD functionality. The huge online store may have had other reasons, in addition to the POD functionality, for buying BookSurge, but I don’t know what…