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With apologies to The Beatles, I have noticed a trend lately among (I am presuming to be) fairly educated and sophisticated people on the ra...

22 May 2011

This Is Not About the Book

So, time marches on and Books on First had on 11 April made a decision that for the time being, we would not be offering Google's independent bookseller's e-book solution on our website.  We are not philosophically against electronic forms of books.  We were just wondering whether this is a set-up for the next Borders scenario.  Borders, as some would recall, has been a contender in the bricks-and-mortar bookseller world.  It believed it could be a contender in the internet world by becoming partners with amazon.com.  Amazon.com co-opted all of Borders online customers and left it in the dust. 

Then, we reversed the decision approximately a month later.  We will be biting the bullet, taking the plunge, and all those good metaphors.  Why?  This is a defensive measure, taken by all bricks-n-mortar booksellers, not thinking they're going to become successful clicks-n-mortar booksellers, just hoping to survive as retailers of books (along with coffee, puzzles, games, toys, knick-knacks, antiques, electronics, stationery, plants, engraved invitations, clocks, jewelry, eyewear, lamps, sandwiches, chocolate and whatever else necessary to keep the cash coming in to pay for the rent, the website, the friendly and knowledgeable staff, the sponsorship of the local Summer festival, etc, expected of a local business.  We are not alone..  I am having to decide to become a member of facebook just to be able to see and to post on the wall of Fans of Books on First on facebook, since we a) don't have any one person with enough time or "passion" to keep it moving along, and b) feel a little out of the loop on what our fans are doing on facebook.  We have customers coming in to say they were disappointed that an announcement of the latest change in live performers was not posted on facebook. Geez, get with it people and follow me on Twitter, so I don't have to become of the billions of people needing to worry about facebook data-mining my privacy!  After all, Brenda put up a You-Tube video of celebrities' kids towing a Funki Trunki (your child can have one, too, right here from Books on First).  I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't signed on to facebook.  All this social media is just too much.  As one blogger has said, "But does it generate more revenue?"  Prove him wrong, folks.  If you're a fan, come buy something at full price (or at least the 20% off hardcover as well as the $2 clearance item).

Re: signing e-books, what is an author to do?  Well, per a recent NY Times item, there are a couple of options, one can sign digital photographs and e-mail them to fans, or get a new app or software that would allow you to write on a "page" of the e-book.  We still have the question of platform.  How valuable is this signature if it may be continuously reproduced and sent to others for printing?  And, how cool is it to carry something like that around to show others versus having it on one's shelf or wall to be "discovered" by friends, family or that second date as she wanders around the newly cleaned apartment thinking she was going to find only etchings, but instead seeing a signed photograph of a famous author with his arm around the guy with whom she would now accept a third date?  Just thoughts.

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