When you talk about bookstores nowadays, two things come to mind: online and offline bookstores. The first has seemed to pose a threat to the disappearance of the second in this age. There’s a world of information out there that we have access to through our computers over the Internet where everything is stored. The publishing or production of books has been affected by the wide availability of them over the Net. And this is getting worse when we take a look at all the new gizmos and gadgets that we have at our disposition to store books, encyclopedias, movies, pics, songs, etc. This has caused a lot of people to stop buying books. Why buy if I can get them free? I can even get books, rare books that no publisher can produce. I can have access to them in a much better way on the screen than if I had a copy of the original in my hand. I can quote, copy and paste whatever I need and use it instantly. This is what we mean by the information age and it is upon us. We have access to everything we want in a book. We are readers on the screen, and there’s a generation of them out there waiting to have access to their sophisticated e-readers and ipads so that they can be in contact with whatever or whomever they want. They won’t need to go to a bookstore to buy a book when there are millions of them waiting to be had, gotten might be a better word. Millennials are being born with these machines and future generations will know of nothing else but their existence with and development around them. They'll have access to whatever they want, including their reading materials, over the Internet.
This online trend and its world of information have affected the sales of books, thus putting bookstores in a serious dilemma. The recent declaration of bankruptcy by Borders didn’t take the publishing industry by surprise. They knew it was coming, and, the worst part of it all, there is more to come and they know it. More prominent bookstores might not take long to fall, to refrain from rendering their service. Perhaps the only three that might survive will be Google, Amazon and Barnes and Noble and that’s because they knew how to change with the times. They made use of the online bookstores which over the last few years have skyrocketed in numbers, rendering the information service, giving their clients an e-book.
This change in the form of books as we know them today has triggered off serious problems for bookstores due to the fact that nobody wants to produce books because of their high cost and as a matter of fact, a lot of buyers weren’t acquiring them anymore for they now had access to the same on the screen, just a click away from their fingertip, just like that, and you can make them appear right in front of your eyes. No one can stop that from happening now. The change has already taken place and will even expand to greater heights in the future.
Bookstores and publishers began to feel the impact as they fought back to survive. Some of them got into joint ventures and partnerships to lower costs and become environmentally friendly. They started producing paper through recycling and have found ways of advertising cheaply via the social networks and other ways. Will they survive? A lot of them think they can as they search for ways and means to produce their books and deliver them to their end-user. They’ve gotten together with publishers and authors and are working with book clubs to come up with innovative and effective methods of promoting reading to make people really go out and buy more books. Let’s see how long they’ll survive, if they can really come up with techniques to do so, then they might prolong their existence.
Bookstores didn’t foresee the changing tides approaching. They didn’t realize that the information age would cause such a great impact on them by shifting the way we deal with books. Very few of them took authors and publishers into account. They were only interested in reaping profits, making their customer buy. They weren’t interested in helping them find a solution to their problem. Now, as they scramble to survive, they’re beginning to see the light, to take time out and negotiate with both writers and publishers to prevent their downfall. They shouldn’t have waited until they got to this point. They should have done something before, a long time ago. However, that is all about the past, so let’s see what we can do to contribute to their survival. After all, they’re a significant part of helping promote reading and if purchasing a book will bring about that, we are more than willing to help make bookstores survive.
At Wade Hilton from Jamaica we can’t wait to hear what you’d do to help them survive. Take a minute or two to let us know what you think will eventually happen to them. It might just be the right remedy for their survival if you voice your opinion on them. You’ll never know, so don't hesitate to have your say on the topic at hand, that of bookstores.
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