Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: nuts to the feel of a real book

From: Patrick King (
Date: 20 Dec 2009

  • Next message: Anthony Dauer: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: nuts to the feel of a real book"

    Fred, the problem is it may not be possible for the two to co-exist. 10 years ago there were 5900 independent bookstores in this country, now there are 1200. We've also lost half the chain stores. And guess what--bookstores are still closing, just read a blogger today writing about how the last 2 bookstores in Springfield, Ohio are closing. It's actually pretty simple--if enough people move to e-readers where the remaining bookstores lose enough customers where they have to close, then we got no more brick & mortar bookstores. And guess what happens as bookstores close--other than the fact that more readers will feel compelled to move e-readers that they didn't really want want--the publishers (both independent and corporate) who depend on these bookstores either shutdown or scale back dramatically. John Grisham and others have also been making these same (to me obvious) observations- -that a minority of people moving to ereaders could force everyone to
     move ereaders as bookstores close.

    So it's all fine and good to make the obvious observations that e-readers are just another container without attempting to look forward and see what all this could leads. They definitely have the corporate publishers worried--read some of the end of year statements from Simon & Shuster and others about the challenges that they're seeing.

    Anyway, I'm sick of pointing out the obvious. In a very short time (probably next 3-5 years) we'll have a good idea where all this is heading, and nothing I or Fred or anyone else writes is going to change a damn thing, so this will be my last post on the subject. I need to instead focus my efforts on either breaking into film (I've got my chances, one project in development, another producer trying to get another project going, and am working with a Hollywood agent on some other projects) or becoming one of those better known names so I can be one of the few authors still selling books when the apocalypse comes.



    In 1980 I was a typesetter making about 70 grand a year and collecting records. By 1986, I was a "graphic designer" making about 60 grand and replacing all my records with CDs. In 1999, NAFTA moved all the graphic design work to India and I had to completely reinvent myself as a computer technician to stay afloat. Fortunately it was easy to convert my CDs to MP3s. Whew, finally I caught a break!

    Look, the reason they call it 'inevitable,' is because it's inevitable. We're all surfing the Third Wave and we can't tell from our position on the board whether it's building or cresting. We're too busy trying not to wipe out. The thing I've learned from shooting this curl, is that it's pointless to fight technology. You have to incorporate new tech into what you do or you'll soon find yourself one of those people crying, "My television won't turn on."

    "The times, they are a changin'"

    Patrick King


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