Tuesday, March 8, 2011

THE FUTURE OF BOOKSTORES: Ebooks and Print, what does it all mean?

The exciting and sad future.

This is for bookstore owners, workers and readers who love the printed word.

Books with paper, ink and the sound of pages turning. I like you grew up with a book in my hand, the smell of a book is like nothing else. I am a reader as well as a writer and because of that I love books. But as we see our world changing we have to change with it or we will end up angry and alone.

eBooks are amazing, and this is coming from a guy that would have laughed in your face if you said that to me even two years ago. Enter the new wave of eReaders. Kindle, Nook, iPad. They came in slow but in the last year have taken the world by storm.

Why you might ask?

Content. This war is not about books, paper, ink, stores. It is content. A book is a story and content, we want and need it. How we get it does not matter to most people. In a audio book, paper, or as a eBook. It is all the same content.

Remember that word. As we talk about the future of print books, think about Content. As a eBook is is cheaper, faster, eco-friendly, and easy to carry. Try bringing 2000 books with you on vacation.

Cheaper: Average eBooks price: 2.99-8.99, average Printed book price: 10.99-14.99
Faster: Download a eBook in 30 seconds. buy a book in a store, yeah, fast, but online 3-6 days and you pay to ship it.
Eco-friendly: Publishers pulp millions of books each year so they don't have to pay taxes on them at the end of the year. Paper, ink, blah, blah, blah... you get the idea.
Easy: eBooks can be read on a eReader, phone, PC, or most any other device. They can be shared, gifted and as they grow in demand they will only get better.

Now, what does this all mean?

For readers, nothing much, just a different way of getting content. For publishers, some will go under as they have built a business around print. some will merge and others will close. This is all good news for authors as the Big 6 have had the control for far to long. Down they come I say. Let it fall, in fact if I can push it a little I will.

Publishers have a place but it will change to a King to a servant. The Kings will not make it. With this most publishers will fight to keep the authors they have now and lock them into contracts for eBooks forever. BE CAREFUL!

Publishers are the ones on the out. eBooks bring the author and the reader together. What do you need a publisher for? really, for what? Everything they can do, you can do as well if not better. Distribution is a thing of the past. Marketing is up to you anyway. If you are a bestselling author and are not moving toward doing it on your own or with a small house that will give you 50% you are missing out on a ton of money. But maybe you like giving it all away... =)

For you I am most sorry. This will hit you in the face like a baseball. Stores will close as most people shop online. big chain stores will go first and the little ones after. But in all this you can fight it or embrace it and adapt.


What is one thing you have that we can't get with an eBook? The author. I would bring in authors and do events every night of the week. Book signings, talks, classes, anything you can think of. Bring the author to the reader. Have a online eBook signing, have them bring in their eReader and have it signed.

Bookstores will be reduced to small specialty stores. But, they will have first editions, signed copies and the only books in the future that go to print will be the cream of the crop. This will be less work for you and the reader as they will know if it is in print it will be good.

Books will always be here, just different. books like non-fiction will be the last to go, coffee table books and the like. The small bookstore can make it a long time if they get out of the box. Get on Social media, talk, interact. Bring in every author you can, learn about eBooks, readers and be a place they can go. Sell coffee, places to sit and read the Kindle. Plug-ins for laptops. Be the place to hang out.

This is a exciting time! Not a time of loss but opportunity. Just think of the new bookstores, the community, the way we can embrace this new era.

How will you look at it? will you fight and die on the hill? Will you be on the front end of the wave? find the people doing it right, the ones who get it and hang on tight. Things are about to get fun!

I understand this is about two years ahead of our times, so if you do not agree... well you would be wrong. Lol... kidding. But, no you would be wrong...


  1. Well said. I wrote something very similar in my blog a few months ago, but not as well stated. For us and readers it's all about content. Michael Eisner used to say "Content is king." And it is. Platforms may change, but content is king.

    Thanks for this post.


  2. Completely agree with you. I think the publishing glitterati are too cosy and are trying to wish away the changes. One assumes the first time any of them will realise there is a serious problem is when the share prices fall and available investment money dries up.

    Like most writers I love books but I think there is one good thing to come out of all this. It should signal the death of the celebrity biography. In the UK some celebrities are paid ridiculous amounts of money to have their biography ghost written every year. How many biographies does Jordan (Katie Price) need? This means publishers have no money to invest in new writers, which may be why so many good writers have jumped at the chance of self epublishing and are now selling lots of ebooks. Bring on the revolution.

  3. I don't have an ebook reader, and I don't plan on getting one any time soon. I like the feel and smell of books. However, I'm more so curious than fearful about the future of publishing. More and more people will buy ebooks, but I think books will be around for a while.