Publishing Industry Afraid Of A Future Without Barnes & Noble
via The New York Times:
There was a great piece in the Times over the weekend, about how publishing houses are worried that if Barnes & Noble falls victim to Amazon, it could mean bad things for the book industry.
You should read the whole story, but here's the gist: Barnes & Noble, a retailer responsible for putting so many independent booksellers out of business, is suddenly the last hope for physical book sales.
Physical storefronts are important for a couple of reasons, like visibility for new authors and the propagation of print books. But the "browsing effect" also plays a big role for publishers.
From the story:
What publishers count on from bookstores is the browsing effect. Surveys indicate that only a third of the people who step into a bookstore and walk out with a book actually arrived with the specific desire to buy one.
“For all publishers, it’s really important that brick-and-mortar retailers survive,” said David Shanks, the chief executive of the Penguin Group USA. “Not only are they key to keeping our physical book business thriving, there is also the carry-on effect of the display of a book that contributes to selling e-books and audio books. The more visibility a book has, the more inclined a reader is to make a purchase.”
John Sargent, the C.E.O. of Macmillan, went on to say that "anybody who is an author, a publisher, or makes their living from distributing intellectual property in book form is badly hurt if Barnes & Noble does not prosper.”
There's a longer conversation to be had here about how publishers might have a bit less to worry about if they adopted better contracts for authors, and eBook pricing schemes that weren't completely insane, but still, the story raises some good points. You should go check it out.
And after you do, why not come back here and talk about it in the comments? Specifically, do you think the fears on display here are legitimate? How would you feel if Barnes & Noble went under?
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