India! I dare you to be rich

The end of bookshops as we know them

The era of bookshops is coming to a screeching end across the world. Book chains are shutting down, rapidly going into liquidation. The inevitable can't be avoided any longer.

The consumer is moving to cheaper options for books, and electronic books. Amazon was the first to unleash this challenge through its bulk retailing model, but its success has been copied by many others, who now sell cheaper than Amazon, and supply the books far quicker. I hardly buy books from Amazon any longer. The site Booko queries the cheapest delivered price for a book to Australia from across all major retailers in the world and takes you straight to the cheapest website. Amazon rarely figures in the cheapest category. 

The other trend is for e-books which has picked up furious pace, and will only increase further. I don't use e-readers myself but I believe those who are price-conscious (not that I'm not!) and don't mark and scribble on books as much as I do will switch to e-books. And as old fogies like me die off, there will be no more demand for the actual book.

Finally, those who actually want a hard copy book in a hurry – to give as a gift, for instance, will be able to order it from the local printer and get it in five minutes. Espresso book machines are rapidly being installed in universities across the world (including Australia), and I suspect they'll go mainstream very soon – with a presence in the main shopping malls, very soon (as "normal" bookshops go under). 

Watch this video, below. A most fascinating experience to see how a book can be printed on demand in less than five minutes!

Related material on the internet:

http://www.startupsmart.com.au/planning/2011-06-15/specialist-store-the-answer-to-nick-sherrys-dire-prediction-for-book-chains.html

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3143075.htm


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2 thoughts on “The end of bookshops as we know them
  1. Surya

    I was really surprised ( and a bit disappointed ) to find out that amazon is not offering the cheapest price for many titles. ( I am an employee of Amazon ) But anyways, it is good to see other companies following the Amazon approach. Amazon is one company that placed it's faith in the idea of a market ( it allows competitors to sell using it's services ) and was handsomely rewarded for it. 
    Regarding electronic books, you can give e-readers a try. I would suggest Kindle. Believe me you will not find one difference from reading an actual book. The device is designed to disappear and leave you with just the pleasure of reading. Moreover kindle e-books are considerably cheaper than the hard copies. And you can get any book anywhere anytime by ordering from the device itself.  Trust me you will not be able to put it down and you will end up reading a lot more than you had ever planned to.
    All of these developments are definitely pushing us towards something monumental. The publishing industry is getting redefined in unforeseen ways. One example is the resurgence of the long form literature. Since this was in between short stories and novels, it was tough to publish them in hard copies. But the e-readers have revived this form. Today Kindle Singles as they are called ( essays, slightly longer than usual journalistic pieces, long short stories etc ) are selling hot. On the other hand, brick and mortar book stores are definitely facing a crisis.  We are seeing Schumpeter's creative destruction at work here.

     

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