Left to right. Up and down. Two things work this way.
Take that, Bookstore!
The Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Avon, Indiana is closing down, and many people are confused or worried. It's hard to tell which; they make the same face for both emotions.
First off, I would like to make one major point: Barnes & Noble is not closing down. They now mainly focus on their online presence with e-books, and of course, their device sales. I believe Amazon is still #1 in the printed book rat-race, if not the leader across the board.
So not all B&Ns are closing, but many are. Borders is gone. And you don't see a physical Amazon bookstore.
E-books outsell the holy crap out of printed books. Many devices have e-readers. But the United States is only #26 on the education/literacy rate.
America is still 99% literate, but since we're not the best readers in the world, does that mean the digital shift has had an effect on how, when, where, why, what we read? Does it affect how much?
I'm going to take a shot at the answer and say sort of. I don't think Americans read as much as many other human beings across the globe, but I'm not too sure it solely relates to the lack of interest in printed books.
I think some people are actually happy bookstores are closing down. Back when they dropped out of sixth grade, they would have killed to see the end of books. But no one's so lucky. And I might still have a purpose in life.
So what does the lack of bookstores amount to? Will it decrease the amount we read?
It's important to realize we are speaking of printed books. As in novels or educational texts. Heavy-ass books. Does reading a one-page article not count as reading? Consider this blog: You didn't just memorize all the text by staring at it really hard. You're reading right now - or skimming.
There's not a lot of science behind the bookstore dilemma. There are other guesses, though.
1. The media will not affect the outcome. I think people will still read. People either like reading or they don't. The first thing you learn as a writer is not everyone is going to read you, and you really don't have the right to be read because you write.
2. As for businesses . . . Yeah, I think they're going to see some hurt coming their way. Right now e-books sell well, but they're low-priced. Stores could charge more, but ask Netflix what happens when you do that. Also, the devices have brought many people to Amazon and BN.com. Think about cell phones: The devices don't yield as much as they're worth.
3. We'll all miss walking into a store with the stench of an old paperback latticed with fresh coffee. Sigh. But literature always evolves. I bet fireside-storytellers were pissed when we started mass-producing paper.
Consider this before you go back to facebook.
So what do you think?
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.