I couldn’t help but agree with this perspective about the death of Borders books. Sure, it’s sad that brick and mortar book retailers are going the way of the dodo bird, and I’m going to miss the casual atmosphere and rewarding experience of browsing through printed titles at my local bookstores.
But times change. LPs transition to CDs (and then to mp3s), landlines become outdated as people start using cell phones, and emails become less convenient than texting. Now, finally, print is going out of fashion.
However, there’s a bright side to this development that many of us “print enthusiasts” don’t yet understand. As journalist Glenn Garvin points out, readers–that is, all of us who enjoy buying and reading books–are the real winners here:
Rather than the first steps of a funeral cortege, the death of Borders is really just the first little dip on a wildly careening roller coaster ride for the people who write, publish, buy and sell books. It’s going to shake us up, down and sideways, industry figures say, and some people may get thrown from their cars. But one group is sure to be happy at the end: readers. . . It may be that the bookstores are vanishing, but readers are going to have more choice and cheaper books.
Sure, this situation is extremely disruptive to the traditional book publishing model, just as it was to the music industry at the turn of this century. If you recall, the labels eventually lost control of the music they distributed, and Apple, a software and hardware company, became the new power broker. This scenario is now playing itself out in the book business, with online retailer Amazon leading the way. Who would have guessed any of this just a few years ago? (Well, I would have guessed it. From 2003-2006 while working at Lulu.com I guessed every year that ebooks would make it big, and was wrong every time)
So go ahead and shed a tear for the old print guys. I know I will. However, whether you’re a reader or an author, I urge you to embrace ebooks. They are your future, whether you like them now or not. I’m confident in time that you will like them, and you’ll forget how you ever got along without them.
The king is dead! Long live the King!
Still on the fence about ebooks? Let me know what you think by sharing your thoughts on my Facebook page.
Until next time, keep publishing!