Open Wounds

Day 7: Harry Potter and E-books

Okay. Harry Potter was cool for what we did but the lines were crazy. It’s 90 degrees and wall to wall people at each of the stores (oh what a merchandising heaven) and a 90 minute wait to get into Hogwartz, the ride – which wasn’t that bad – we were told. We made it 30 minutes and hit the stretch of line that was in the sun and gave up. We’ll do it another day. The butter beer was indeed excellent as was the breakfast at the 3 Broomsticks. We’ll be back again tomorrow.

Wingardium leviosa!  Sorry. I just had to say that.

Now onto the discussion of indi’s, B&N, Borders, and survival of the fittest.

So Jeff of Bound to Read Books in Atlanta gave me some insight into the real plight of indi bookstores in this age of ebooks. Now the age of ebooks seems like it’s an age that’s been here forever but it’s really only a couple of serious years old. But a lot has happened in two years. The Kindle took out the Sony Reader, and the Nook took on the Kindle and has established itself on the shelf next to it and the iPad is right behind trying to throw its apple muscle around to create some space for it. The Kobo – backed by Borders and we all know what happened to them – is far behind as are the Sony Readers and a few others.

What do the indi’s have? Nothing.

I mean bookstores are traditionally selling points for books. But that doesn’t mean they have to be hard copy books only, though, does it? Will bookstores change the way they look? How can they compete with electronic sales over the internet? Do they want to or even need to?

Amazon owns the Kindle and indi’s could sell the Kindle but what about the books that people read on the Kindle? Everybody goes to Amazon. Barnes & Noble has their own platform so they sell both the Nook and their own books, because they can too. But what about the indi’s? How do they get into the e-book market? Can they? I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this before.

Now I’m not saying ebooks are going to take over the book reading market. But they are and will take up market share and It’s a market share that’s growing and that indi’s can’t touch.

Jeff just shook his head when I asked him what he was going to do.

When I talked to Andy at the B&N in Gainesville store I asked him how B&N was doing now that Borders has kicked the bucket. He said they were good, then added. “We invested in the Nook. And it’s paid off.”

Indeed it has. Consumers Report rated it higher than the Kindle recently which was rated pretty high all by itself. Each product is different in it’s platform but gives a segment of the population something that it wants – a way to read books electronically.

But what about the indi’s? Does anybody know?

3 responses

  1. No, Joe, I don’t know.

    I just want to add that, I in fact own a Nook color. (I use it for certain things and that’s pretty much it) I still support my local B&N when they have signings, as do I shop at my favorite indie store. I don’t think I could ever go completely electronic. I just like collecting books too much. That or I’m a pack rat. 🙂

    August 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    • Amy,
      I’m a book rat myself but I totally get the e-book phenom. My wife has a Kindle and my son does too. Still Max reads both hard copy and electronic. I think there is room for both for us readers but I really never thought of the extended impact on Indi stores.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  2. I traded my Nook Color in for a Kindle, because I couldn’t stand reading on the backlit LCD. Other than that they’re both great devices.

    As far as Indie stores, I have no ideas. I’ve always shopped at indie record stores, because they’re the only ones that had the good, indie tunes, but it can’t work that way in books. They’re going to have to do something, but I have no idea what.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm

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