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Monday, June 18, 2012

Bookstore's Future, e-Books, and Indie Publishing

This last Saturday was "Save the Bookstores" Day.  I hope you had a chance to visit and support your local bookstore and help them out.  As we see brick-and-mortar bookstores closing around the country in these difficult economic times, we don't want to see what was once a common sight of bookstores easily found anywhere from a mall to small towns fade away.  

The has an article by Terri Giuliano Long dated May 16, 2012 regarding this, titled "Sticks & Stones: The Changing Politics of the Self-Publishing Stigma."  The article gives a villain to blame for local bookstores closing, the burgeoning self-publishing industry.  But the other side to this is that more books are easily accessible at bargain prices.

"As well-educated and experienced writers—emerging authors who’ve honed their craft as well as established and traditionally published authors—increasingly opt to go the indie route, the bar is rising. As with indie musicians and filmmakers, indie authors bring new life to an evolving industry. Today, readers have access to a wealth of funny, poignant, brilliant voices of talented new authors from around the globe—voices that, just a few years ago, might have been silenced by the old guard."

The article also explains how a feud is forming between traditionally published authors and indie published authors.  There are some rising tempers over the issue.

I also found an article, "The 'Golden Age' of Bookstores: A Myth?"  by Kristina Chew June 12, 2012, on the website that gives a different aspect of the saga. 

"It’s become commonplace to bemoan the demise of bookstores in this age of and downloadable e-books. But The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal points out that, back in 1931, there were only 500 real bookstores in the US in 1931 and that the “golden age” of bookstores in the US may not have been such at all. 

...the big box bookstore — are a very recent phenomenon and one (as evinced in the bankruptcy of Borders) with a seemingly short existence.  It could be argued that books are more accessible than ever, provided you have Internet access and some kind of e-reader device. What the paperback and now the e-book eras have ushered in is another phenomenon, of more and more people being able to own books."

The Kristina Chew article says that a very small percentage of people could afford books, nor had access to places which carried many books, until the advent of the paperback.  The paperback made books affordable and more likely to be available where everyday consumers could buy them.  The e-book revolution is now opening up availability of more books by removing the gatekeepers who decided what would be published.   

I must confess, I have a Nook... okay two.  But I still love having a physical book.  You can't get an e-book autographed, write in the margins, nor recycle them at a used book store for somebody else to love them - while getting money for them.  I love that, other than water or fire damage, I will still have my book and don't have to worry about an electronic device dying or loosing data with newer versions of software etc.  I am hoping we can maintain both going forward.   

What do you think dear reader?  Is indie publishing busting things wide open a good thing?  Is the inexpensive e-book a blessing by making reading even more affordable?

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