Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Good News

It’s a changing industry. People are just not buying books anymore. Pretty soon we won’t need publishers.

It’s like listening to an annoying song that’s constantly played on the radio. And then we have the publisher’s lament that usually goes along with it: Books used to matter to people (stamp feet and cross arms). I don’t know what’s worse.

But sometimes bad news hits me like a punch in the stomach. Last week, amid news that Barnes and Nobles was putting itself on sale, I came across this quote on why the store was having such a hard time competing with stores like Wal-Mart or Costco:

“[Consumers] might pick up a book when they’re buying hand sanitizer or Band-Aids, rather than actually seeking out a bookstore as a destination and then buying a book at that point,” said Michael Norris, senior analyst at Simba Information, which provides research and advice to publishers.

People are now picking up books stacked next to antiseptic and adhesive bandages? It seems that buying a book is like grabbing a pack of gum while waiting at the checkout. People are purchasing books by accident.

The only thing that helps against this constant onslaught of bad news, is good news. A writer—Jonathan Franzen—on the cover of Time magazine (the first time an author has graced the cover in a decade). And that the casting of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, everyone’s favorite book character, was important enough to make it in the top news round-up on the morning shows. I dare say it, books do matter to people, at least this week.


  1. Well call me crazy, but know what all this bad news makes me want to do? Open a bookstore.

  2. There's SUCH a good space on Broadway in Inwood. And there are hardly any bookstores in north Manhattan!