This conversation is closed.

I was a bookseller in mostly antiquarian books. I would love a discussion about the disintegration of the book world - bookshops, libraries

I have seen dramatic shifts in the antiquarian bookselling business and in publishing. I fear for the future "brick and mortar" bookshop as more and more stores close, including the behemoths like Borders and Barnes and Nobel - the rise of the "print on demand" (POD) which has jeopardized sales of real books and destroyed the value of simply good out of print books which have been rendered worthless.

I'm interested in the question from other booksellers as well as book buyers who buying habits have clearly changed.

  • thumb
    Aug 10 2012: Why not we should have a Book Resorts with all other facilities like restaurant, pubs and hotels at cheap rates. Where book lovers of world and others can go on tours or leave from harsh job environment read the books available as their interest and at leisurely time.This will go a long way in enriching our knowledge base and help for writers publisher and ultimately the readers.The big publisher can do it immediately by combining with tour managers. By implementing it every one gains, the reader,writer,publisher and the tour managers.
  • Aug 7 2012: Hi, As a new owner of an i pad 3 I loved being able to download books abfab . But I still like the tactile use of books and of course being able to share with friends that don't do the tech thing, which as it happens is nearly all my friends i share books with. The question i find is not so much going on line but the appreciation of the beauty of books,sharing lack of batteries of course and the need to remember how to read and enjoy the experience there is just something about books, i have a friend who only downloads now so her house is not cluttered with shelves of books, but i think it goes alot deeper, I am reading Whole brain thinking at the moment by Michael Lavery (downloaded ) He has highlighted cursive hand writing as so important for basicly strengthening the white matter and keeping us young and aware.
    I hope i didn't go off to much but there will always be a place for books and we have to make it so because it was not too long ago that kids did not have mobile phones how there world has changed but for there future some oof the old ideas and skills need to be reborn, when was the last time that you saw a teenager write a letter and post it. Food for thought
  • thumb
    Aug 8 2012: I was an avid reader of books & new papers of all kinds. But after the explosion of media I have practically left reading. When I go back to find what has happened to me, what are its cause. The first is definitely the TV and Mobile. These two things are real destroyer knowledge as the people got easy, cheap entertainment. Mobile keeps them abreast with latest news and share up/down information.The best way is introduce plastic coated books.
  • thumb
    Aug 8 2012: I've given up buying the sort of book I only read once, in favour of downloads. However I do find that the e-reader experiences of buying and reading still fall a long way behind looking at real books. Amazon often doesn't have the sort of product description you would pick up from looking at the back cover of a book and the Look Inside feature dictates which bit of the book you look at before buying - I prefer to have a skim of two or three areas, not read the first few chapters. And a Kindle or iPad doesn't easily support the sort of flicking through pages I like to do sometimes to remind myself of something earlier in the plot.

    I haven't tried using an e-reader for a reference book. I think for that sort of work I would rather see the content presented as a website.
  • thumb
    Aug 7 2012: Shops devoted to the selling of only new books have largely disappeared here in Arizona, USA. Used book sellers are flourishing. I think it's the economy. New books became so expensive they would have seen a sharp decrease in sales even if the Internet hadn't replaced them as the cheapest way to buy new books. But the best way to save money is to buy books from used book stores. These stores buy and sell books. The demand for hardcopy literature seems alive and well to me.
  • thumb
    Aug 7 2012: POD is fantastic... it democratises access. I am not really a fan of all those technical devices and gadgets but since I see so many people reading something on their phones in the most crowded metro train where space is at a premium I had to change my mind. The problem with your type of business is that many valuable books became investment items and, as such, inaccessible to a broader public. I had friends who sat on valuable antique Chinese books but couldn't read them. What's the point?
  • Aug 7 2012: I was just in my local library yesterday and very few folks were present. Tried to get a copy of Moby Dick but no luck. I don't fear new tech. & even embrace to a point. I do love sitting in my porch swing with a good book & hope I will continue to do so in coming yrs. Some things just need to be kept alive.
  • thumb
    Aug 7 2012: I still go to the bookshop, but most people prefer e-books. In most libraries in Nigeria and South Africa there are books and e-books; i think younger people prefer e-books but there is still a market for books.
  • thumb
    Aug 6 2012: This is the flow of time and society is running even faster...

    Books can be beautiful, a form of art in craftsmanship.

    But if the pages stay white, a book looses its purpose and would serve for sketches only.

    The content got liberated off its carrier by the digital revolution and by any new generation of reading devices, the touch, feel and 'look' becomes more and more user friendly so that at one point no one would even miss the good old 'paper version' anymore. By this and dropping prices even 'print on demand' will become obsolete one day.

    Only enthusiasts would collect books and antiquarian books, as they already do today.

    In my opinion the 'disintegration of the book world' as you described it is partly related to this new 'freedom of content' and may also be caused by the circumstance, that many book collectors have to face a different use of their spendings on more necessary items.

    Who needs a single book if you could have the whole world literature at a fraction of its weight and cost at your fingertips? So once we are getting used to 'wobbly chairs and tables' we might one day learn to live without books as we know them today... :o)

    I can not say that I particularly like this idea but I do not fear it either ...