>Bookstores: Going Extinct?

>The Last Bookstore

Before launching a business, some people invest in market research and feasibility studies. Josh Spencer is not one of those people — otherwise he might never have opened his downtown L.A. used bookstore in December 2009, let alone moved it a few blocks away this month to a 10,000-square-foot space.

I find this fascinating. People are praising Mr. Spencer for opening a bookstore “in these dire times” and yet they seem to forgot about the thousands of independent booksellers who have remained open in spite of the eBook boom. I’m glad that this has seemingly renewed the interest in bookstores, but I don’t understand why we haven’t been trying to save the bookstores we already have.

I know that I’m partly to blame. I bought a Nook Color recently and I am exceedingly excited to start using it to read my books. I also, however, purchased the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series in paperback because wanted to keep them in my permanent library. Am I a bad person for preferring to read books on an eReader vs a physical copy?

Answer these 10 questions:

1. When was the last time you bought a book from an independent bookseller?
2. How many books do you buy from independent booksellers in a year?
3. What influences you most when it comes to purchasing books?
4. Why do you choose to buy a book vs. checking it out from a public library?
5. Who recommends books to you?
6. Where do you buy most of your books?
7. In what format do you buy most of your books?
8. Do you lend books out that you buy?
9. Would you be more willing to lend an eBook vs a physical copy of a book?
10. If your local independent bookseller had an online catalog, would you be more willing to purchase from them?

Next Post: Nook Color Review

>And So it Begins…..

>I have been working in and around libraries for the past 3 years now. I never get tired of seeing the “New” stickers on the spines of the books, helping middle school children with their first research paper or organizing the shelves just so. I think I have always liked the hands on nature of libraries. Browsing shelves, pulling books, curling up in one of those oversize chairs and reading. In fact, I don’t even mind reading shelves. I get some sort of obsessive compulsive satisfaction from putting books into their rightful place. It feels good to know that when a patron goes to look for that book, it will be there.

A library is a really interesting place to be honest. So many books filled with interesting information. Travel books eagerly anticipating your trip. Children’s books waiting to be read to lap-sitting tots. How-to books brimming with ideas to make your life easier. It is amazing just how much information is really out there. The internet has made that incredibly apparent.

A search for “books” gets you: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, rare books, New York Times books, eBooks, books just for Mac OSX, books just for PC’s, books on how to search for books! I feel like we are all suffering from some sort of search overload. We get so much information from the click of a mouse, that we don’t know how to actually search anymore. I have so many teens come into the library who don’t know how to actually find a scholarly source outside of Google, its sad. Even when I worked at a collegiate library there were college students who had never used a library. They would ask questions like:

– “Are we allowed to check books out of here?”
– “Are all of your books available online?”
– “Can I download the audiobook of to my iPhone?”

So you would think that I’m complaining that libraries are “going out of style,” thats not true though! In these economic times, libraries are doing well actually. It is times like these that remind people how important FREE STUFF really is. When families start to see that paying $5.00 to rent a movie and dealing with late-fees are not worth the hassle, they come to us. When they don’t want to drive to the city to order a book from Barnes and Noble, they ask for books to be put on our “Will We Buy” list. It makes sense to use the local library, thats what its there for!