The New York Times reports, “Readers have gone from skipping small bookstores to wondering if they need bookstores at all. ... For readers, e-books have meant a transformation not just of the reading experience, but of the book-buying tradition of strolling aisles, perusing covers and being able to hold books in their hands. Many publishers have been astounded by the pace of the e-book popularity and the threat to print book sales that it represents. If the number of brick-and-mortar stores drops, publishers fear that sales will go along with it. Some worry that large bookstores will go the way of the record stores that shut down when the music business went digital.”
I worry, too, and do what I can about it. I do buy books at independent bookstores. Just last week I purchased Super Sad True Love Story from Powells. On the flip side, because I am awash in review copies, I don’t buy as many books as I used to. And since the downturn in the economy, I use the library a little more as well.
At the same time, my ability to afford to buy any books at all depends in part on these very bookstores that are struggling. It’s a conundrum, and I’m afraid the future is going to catch up with us before we can figure it out. Read more here.