June 20, 2011
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!
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