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  1. #1
    radical faerie ixthrock's Avatar
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    If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Why don't the few bookstores remaining carry better stock?

    Case in point: Neal Stephenson's new novel REAMDE - I want a copy, but haven't an e-reader of any sort - yet. When I checked a local bookseller, they had a paperback copy - like a lot of their new release paperbacks, it was barely bound and printed on tissue thin stock with weak flimsy covers. It was that awkward size, between typical hardback and paperback size, and the print was tiny. Granted, this is Neal Stephenson, who writes fat books - but I have a paperback copy of Cryptonomicon probably a decade or so old that is in better shape after a couple of readings and several moves than that copy of REAMDE would be after a similar timespan, it fits on the shelf with my other paperbacks, and the print is bigger - despite being thick enough to stun an ox.

    Sure, I could probably find a hardbound copy online - for about half the price of a Fire - but why aren't booksellers stocking a better product, given that the dwindling number of print readers would most likely be enthusiasts? It just doesn't make sense to me.

    In another, but related, vein - Vinyl survives. The wax is still being pressed (and, yes, I know it's not technically wax anymore) if for no other reason than to keep the sonic artists - DJs - in raw materials. But not everything is being pressed into vinyl - mostly, it's club music - and our local vinyl source has closed, so I imagine the DJs have to acquire their product mostly online. So my question is, just like Club Music is single-handedly keeping vinyl alive, what do you imagine (if anything) will keep print alive?

  2. #2
    I spell spelled spelt
    gsdx's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I've noticed that, too. I had to take the last few books of the Shannara series that I bought. The pages kept falling out.

    Sadly, the last 'new' book store in downtown Peterborough closed last year. I have to take a bus now if I want a new book. At 5 bucks round trip, it's just as cheap for me to order through Amazon and let them deliver the books right to my door.

  3. #3
    Count Hedgecula freefall's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    The readers, of course. Because prints rock and e-books are lame.
    Seriously, there will always be avid readers who will endlessly seek for prints.

    Bradbury summed it pretty good in his Fahrenheit 451:

    “I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can't really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, 'If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we'll talk.' All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don't want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”
    Also, old prints smell nice
    come now, my child. if we were planning to harm you, do you think
    we'd be lurking here beside the path in the darkest part of the forest?

  4. #4
    nf fbt funw glbhuof gmhp
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    not like a 1st world read words anyway
    ans 1st world gettin there wish< ow>

    so

    thankyou
    elefants ware slippas a ants die in comfort
    "dat fit" <haaaaaaa

  5. #5
    internet junkie JOHN B's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Actually, I read an article recently (can't remember where), that stated that print books are still going/selling quite strong. I myself would MUCH rather have the real thing (a paper book) rather than scrolling thru a tablet screen...... Even in this electronic age, I still love to read a book before going to sleep at nite.
    <img src=file:///C:/Users/john%20b/Documents/New%20Cleveland%20area%20pics/Cleveland%20view%20stone%20wall.jpg/>

    http://allaroundhere.tumblr.com/

  6. #6
    Last Chance Jubber justsimon's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Booksellers have little say in the quality of the product. You should direct your question to the publishers.

  7. #7
    stacy
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    As a writer I am on both sides of the fence in the e-Books versus paper books issue. First of all yes, bookstores should carry better stock. But I am thankful for digital because I can self-publish for free and get my books online for people to see without having a publisher or, money.

    Do not discount e-Readers. They are helpful to those of us who are getting older and need bigger print, too

  8. #8
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN B View Post
    Actually, I read an article recently (can't remember where), that stated that print books are still going/selling quite strong. I myself would MUCH rather have the real thing (a paper book) rather than scrolling thru a tablet screen...... Even in this electronic age, I still love to read a book before going to sleep at nite.
    I agree. Nothing can beat the wonderful feeling of having a proper book in your hands and feeling the paper run between your fingers as you go through the pages, while being able to understand and experience every single part of the text as something very personal and internal... As opposed to having to look into a glaring screen, where a lifeless text is ready for you to mechanically process. Books are just delightful!

  9. #9
    radical faerie ixthrock's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by stacy View Post
    As a writer I am on both sides of the fence in the e-Books versus paper books issue. First of all yes, bookstores should carry better stock. But I am thankful for digital because I can self-publish for free and get my books online for people to see without having a publisher or, money.

    Do not discount e-Readers. They are helpful to those of us who are getting older and need bigger print, too
    Ohhh, I don't discount the e-reader at all In fact, I'm thinking more and more of getting one myself. My budget will allow for that hella quicker than it will allow for all the nice books I'd like to buy. I'm just curious why the sellers don't seem to stock a nicer product.

    Justsimon: Do you mean that publishers aren't printing enough quality stock to inventory the stores? I don't really know much about the give and take between booksellers and publishers. What else can you tell me about that relationship? It just seems to me that there would be a place for a bookstore that carries nice stock with a hefty pricetag, kind of like what Starbucks has done to coffee.

  10. #10
    nf fbt funw glbhuof gmhp
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    book stores is bow ta da ways cause
    da ways alls bookends

    not a folk modern figa wot do wit pritned words anyway
    cause all print umselfs

    anyway

    nice few folk in world still can read no got apapa or eletric power need

    wish 1st world subs luck befor da cream run out ink ta sell

    thankyou
    elefants ware slippas a ants die in comfort
    "dat fit" <haaaaaaa

  11. #11

    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I love books ... but only for the information or story they contain; I am totally uninterested in their physical form. I have dozens of shelves full of books, taking up whole walls of space in my flat, but these days they are merely for decoration and nostalgia. I do all of my reading in e-form.

    I'll probaby ending up ditching my books sooner or later ... much like I ditched all my vinyl, cassettes, and cds years ago.

  12. #12
    Last Chance Jubber justsimon's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by ixthrock View Post
    Justsimon: Do you mean that publishers aren't printing enough quality stock to inventory the stores? I don't really know much about the give and take between booksellers and publishers. What else can you tell me about that relationship? It just seems to me that there would be a place for a bookstore that carries nice stock with a hefty pricetag, kind of like what Starbucks has done to coffee.
    I mean that the larger publishers are producing a cheaper product to increase their profit. This is, in part, due to their own financial problems. Many smaller presses choose to print higher quality books, but because they print a lower quantity (and don't tend to sell as well), their books are not carried in as many stores.

    Many of the larger publishers (the number of which is slowly decreasing as they merge through buyouts) do print a number of high-quality books. Some of these are special editions, with cheaper versions being available as well. In those cases, smaller stores will often choose to carry the cheaper version because there's a larger market and the initial cost of purchase is less. Distributors like Amazon are able to sell more expensive (higher quality) books at a loss or near loss, so many consumers purchase from them. It's not feasible for a small retailer to do the same.

    In the last few years, the independent bookstore I worked at for a long time has had to dramatically cut back on stock, focusing more on bestsellers and less on indie books. However, they still do special orders at no extra charge. I believe that most independent bookstores are willing to do the same.

    I think a boutique-like bookstore with special editions and higher quality books would be great, but I don't know how well it would do.

    As an aside, I don't think print is dying. The industry does need to adapt, though.

  13. #13
    Keeland
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I was in a shopping-centre bookstore the other afternoon (bought two paperbacks) and the place was packed, as though it were the day before Christmas.

    There was no sale, no cut-rate prices, no special attraction, no author about to visit.

    It's not a small store. It has a mezzanine, a yuppie-type coffee shop, overstuffed chairs scattered throughout the store for customers to read at their leisure and half a dozen real live people at their desks, each equipped with a computer to help customers find books, the prices of which are not inflated beyond that printed on the covers.

    I waited in a line-up behind two other customers, both of whom were waiting for one of the five tills to clear before it was their turn. These people were buying books, not returning Christmas gifts. It was like waiting for a teller in a bank.

    I thought I had fallen through a time warp.

  14. #14
    Last Chance Jubber justsimon's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeland View Post
    I was in a shopping-centre bookstore the other afternoon (bought two paperbacks) and the place was packed, as though it were the day before Christmas.

    There was no sale, no cut-rate prices, no special attraction, no author about to visit.

    It's not a small store. It has a mezzanine, a yuppie-type coffee shop, overstuffed chairs scattered throughout the store for customers to read at their leisure and half a dozen real live people at their desks, each equipped with a computer to help customers find books, the prices of which are not inflated beyond that printed on the covers.

    I waited in a line-up behind two other customers, both of whom were waiting for one of the five tills to clear before it was their turn. These people were buying books, not returning Christmas gifts. It was like waiting for a teller in a bank.

    I thought I had fallen through a time warp.
    In Portland we have Powell's, an independent bookstore, which takes up an entire city block. On the weekends, it's usually ridiculously crowded.

  15. #15
    radical faerie ixthrock's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    hmph. well, I'm at least toddling into the digital age. I just paid about eleven bucks for a hardbound copy of REAMDE through amazon, It'll get here in 4-14 days. I can wait; it's a lot cheaper than I expected - four of those bux were for shipping.

    Thanks for the informative response, Simon - it broke my heart when the Borders in town closed; it was very much a community center, and a much nicer place than the B&N that's still alive in the mall. Keeland's description above reminded me a little of our local Borders. Of course, the LGBT bookstore closed ages ago... We also still have a Books-a-Million in town; it's where Dad and I do the majority of our christmas shopping for his great-grandkids.

  16. #16
    radical faerie ixthrock's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I've been to that Powell's - I think. Maybe I got the Dictionary of the Khazars there...

  17. #17
    loki81
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by freefall View Post
    The readers, of course. Because papyrus rocks and paper is lame.
    Seriously, there will always be avid readers who will endlessly seek for scrolls.

    Also, old dried out lamb skin smell nice
    fixed that for you

  18. #18
    Count Hedgecula freefall's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    ^You forgot the hieroglyphs and runes...
    come now, my child. if we were planning to harm you, do you think
    we'd be lurking here beside the path in the darkest part of the forest?

  19. #19
    Dr Bit! :~D
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Bookfinder is my best friend.
    Recently I heard a 'wise guy' story that I had a party at my home for twenty-five men. It's an interesting story, but I don't know twenty-five men I'd want to invite to a party. ~Joan Crawford

  20. #20
    Lions&Tigers&Bears Oh My!
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I don't know about saving the print industry but I love metaphysical bookstores and I like to have a few hours at least clear so I can take my time. I usually make a significant purchase. I have been haunting them since my early 20s. The ambiance and vibe is especially important and cannot be found on any computer...

  21. #21

    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I do predict non-fiction will disappear from paper entirely . Fiction whatever the aesthetic bonds to paper are , the fact that they cost nothing at all will be an issue perhaps the decisive issue . The ergonomics really is a matter I think of just getting accustomed to a different form , probably no more drastic than changing from scroll to book .

  22. #22

    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    digital is point-blank just massively superior for all non-fiction . I would suggest the consequent necessary pervasiveness of readers etc. will "drag along" fiction .

  23. #23
    JUB Addict Audio Tech's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I love books. I have read thousands of books in my life. I'll always prefer REAL books.

    However, for things like newspapers and generally "disposable" publications, an e-reader makes a lot of sense.

  24. #24
    CE&P Secret Police xbuzzerx's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I will always prefer real books. I presume the reason that any given bookstore seems "shitty" is because of shelf real estate limitations and how big a variety they try to pack.

  25. #25
    johaninsc
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I prefer real books too


    ...and I consider a well made one a work of art

  26. #26
    Keeland
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by csb999 View Post
    The ergonomics really is a matter I think of just getting accustomed to a different form , probably no more drastic than changing from scroll to book .
    You own nothing but the reader (though I'd like to read the small print with the reader purchase). Everything you download could disappear more quickly than they appear.

    You can't lend the books, share them or sell them, because you rent them. And Amazon "disappears" them, as it has at least twice.

  27. #27
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Its like the newspapers, people aren't buying as much, hopefully that'll cut down on trees...

    But, I too like to have a book, I've six or seven book cases full of them.


  28. #28
    ForeverSingle+Unloveable 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    If I'm going to read a book, I want a 'real' (paper) book...not some text on the computer screen
    If its a so-called e-book, the file/download better be free LOL thats the only way I'd consider it as an option

  29. #29
    CE&P Secret Police xbuzzerx's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by 72-Jay View Post
    If I'm going to read a book, I want a 'real' (paper) book...not some text on the computer screen
    If its a so-called e-book, the file/download better be free LOL thats the only way I'd consider it as an option
    That was always the killer for me, for sure.

    If it's going to be 7.99 I might as well get the tactile experience of havin the book in my hands. If it were like itunes and ebooks were like 1.99 I would probably pick up a kindle.

  30. #30
    ForeverSingle+Unloveable 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    I actually have a kindle (sorta LOL)
    Got it free but is currently not in working condition...

  31. #31
    美しいヨーロッパ Scealle's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Hopefully not if so this is pretty sad I still like the feeling of flipping through pages to read something. Majority of my time is already spent in fornt of the PC (work, entertainment, social). It'd suck if I also have to study in front of the PC as well.

  32. #32
    loki81
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    That was always the killer for me, for sure.

    If it's going to be 7.99 I might as well get the tactile experience of havin the book in my hands. If it were like itunes and ebooks were like 1.99 I would probably pick up a kindle.
    there are literally truckloads of books in the $0.99 - $2.99 range in Amazon's kindle store... the best thing about e-books is how much easier it is for small writers to get their stuff into circulation when you don't have to rely on the dying publishing house distribution network.

    the ones charging $8-$15 for an e-book are, surprise surprise, the big dying publishing houses refusing to adapt to the new reality.

  33. #33
    TheSpectatingLoner
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Why should they waste time backstocking? Any uncommon book is easily reached on the internet. Why waste money holding it in stores on the off chance that someone wants it.

    What bookstores need to do (and it's sad typing this) is play it safe and order only what they know will sell--thus maximizing their profits until they eventually go under.

    And they will eventually go under. Which sucks.

    I, for one, will never buy a Kindle.

  34. #34
    nf fbt funw glbhuof gmhp
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    irony a books wot full a ink noone read

    syria ta brazil ans etc
    all pay fa da I1 supas lick ther toys

    anyway
    elefants ware slippas a ants die in comfort
    "dat fit" <haaaaaaa

  35. #35
    ForeverSingle+Unloveable 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: If print is going the way of the dinosaur...

    Quote Originally Posted by loki81
    there are literally truckloads of books in the $0.99 - $2.99 range in Amazon's kindle store...
    Doesn't matter how cheap it is...I still wouldn't pay for a "file" (& thats what it is a computer file/date, not a book) If I'm gonna pay I want the real thing LOL
    Used books can be had for cheap at thriftstores or on eBay

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSpectatingLoner
    And they will eventually go under. Which sucks.
    Sadly I too think that will be the fate of most (but not all bookstores)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSpectatingLoner
    I, for one, will never buy a Kindle.
    Never say 'never'
    Kindle fire does look pretty cool/nice at least as a tablet (but then again mine was free...just need to figure out how/if to do a reformat/reinstall of its 'software' . anyone know if that can be done? )

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