Are Books Becoming Obsolete?

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ReflectiveAcuity

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My wife and I did as millions of others around the world did over the holidays; we went shopping at the local mall. On that particular day, nearly every square inch of the building was jammed-packed with shoppers. Every store filled to capacity, except for one, which I’ll get to in a moment. As we walked along a corridor, practically rubbing elbows with others, I turned my head and looked into Waldenbooks. Aside from the clerk at the register and a single individual near the back of the store reaching up to one of the shelves, the store was completely empty! I turned to my wife, who is well aware of my love of books, and I said, “Look at how empty that store is. That is sad. That is really sad.”

She remarked something about how, more and more, people are turning to the Internet or electronic devices for their reading. That picking up an actual hardcover or paperback book and turning its pages is becoming a thing of the past.

That is sad.

RA
 
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cornflake

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I have returned to this forum to post this question. I hadn’t visited or written in this forum for a while because, quite frankly, I was very disappointed in what appeared to be extensive rudeness exhibited by many of the members here. But that’s neither here or there; I have a very sad story to tell.

My wife and I did as millions of others around the world did over the holidays; we went shopping at the local mall. On that particular day, nearly every square inch of the building was jammed-packed with shoppers. Every store filled to capacity, except for one, which I’ll get to in a moment. As we walked along a corridor, practically rubbing elbows with others, I turned my head and looked into Waldenbooks. Aside from the clerk at the register and a single individual near the back of the store reaching up to one of the shelves, the store was completely empty! I turned to my wife, who is well aware of my love of books, and I said, “Look at how empty that store is. That is sad. That is really sad.”

She remarked something about how, more and more, people are turning to the Internet or electronic devices for their reading. That picking up an actual hardcover or paperback book and turning its pages is becoming a thing of the past.

That is sad.

RA

Considering they went out of business last year and liquidated, that's not particularly surprising, except for the part sbout there being a clerk in there to begin with.
 

Alpha Echo

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Well, every time I'm in Barnes and Noble, it's packed. I went after Christmas with my giftcards. Of course, people weren't just buying books.

I do think that bookstores are falling away, but I think part of it is because everyone orders online. I do. If I'm not at the used bookstore or using giftcards at Barnes and Noble, I'm ordering through Amazon (yes, I do, sorry) or Literary Guild when they have sales.

I do go to the used bookstore quite often though. Which reminds me, I need to go again this weekend. I have a ton of books to trade.
 

cornflake

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Well, every time I'm in Barnes and Noble, it's packed. I went after Christmas with my giftcards. Of course, people weren't just buying books.

I do think that bookstores are falling away, but I think part of it is because everyone orders online. I do. If I'm not at the used bookstore or using giftcards at Barnes and Noble, I'm ordering through Amazon (yes, I do, sorry) or Literary Guild when they have sales.

I do go to the used bookstore quite often though. Which reminds me, I need to go again this weekend. I have a ton of books to trade.

I believe I saw an article about physical book sales getting a good bump over the holidays as ppl bought them as gifts.
 

Briony-zisaya

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I love my Kindle, it goes everywhere with me. That being said I will never stop purchasing paperback copies of books. Some I buy for Kindle out of convenience, but I also still buy paperback copies because I like the feel of a book in my hand. Hubby and I just discussed this a few days ago because we recently moved and alot of my books are in storage in a different state and I wish I would have brought them to begin with because I want to read a particular book again. He said we could just get it on my ereader. NO! I want to hold it in my hand. For me at least they are not ever going to be obsolete.
 

mccardey

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e-books are also books, of course. And let's not get Medi started on the papyrus thing...

;)
 

Tepelus

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I went to a BAM! bookstore in the Sandusky Mall a week ago and there were at least a couple dozen people in there, maybe even more. People are still buying paper books. I don't think they'll ever go away.

I still like physical books, but I just got a Kindle Fire for Christmas which I'll use to buy books that either aren't available in paper form or I just don't want in paper form, plus I can get a hold of a lot of the classics for free and read them on that which is more convenient than reading on my laptop. I can also watch movies on my KFire that my boyfriend won't want to watch, or while he's taking up the TV with his video games.
 

Alpha Echo

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I have a kindle, and I was so excited with it when I first got it (about a year ago) that I thought I'd use it all the time. I hardly use it at all. I only really use it when I'm getting my hair done or waiting at the doctor's office or something. I prefer books. It's kinda sad because when I was all excited with the new Kindle, I went NUTS buying kindle books. I downloaded a lot of free crap that was just that - crap. Most of what I downloaded for the Kindle was crap. IDK. Now I'm rambling.
 

leahzero

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Considering they went out of business last year and liquidated, that's not particularly surprising, except for the part sbout there being a clerk in there to begin with.

This. o_O

Are you sure it was a Waldenbooks? Because they don't exist anymore.

And yes, printed books are on the decline. It's doubtful they'll COMPLETELY disappear for a while yet. The MP3 didn't completely wipe out the CD, cassette, or record, after all. But it is very likely that printed books will go the same route: used by a minority for fetishistic or other unconventional purposes.

Ebooks, however, are a booming market.

And why is it sad that ebooks are overtaking print? Aside from hashing out the ebook vs. print argument again (see: a billion other threads on this topic), if people are reading, people are reading. Period.
 

cray

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I have returned to this forum to post this question. I hadn’t visited or written in this forum for a while because, quite frankly, I was very disappointed in what appeared to be extensive rudeness exhibited by many of the members here. But that’s neither here or there; I have a very sad story to tell.

My wife and I did as millions of others around the world did over the holidays; we went shopping at the local mall. On that particular day, nearly every square inch of the building was jammed-packed with shoppers. Every store filled to capacity, except for one, which I’ll get to in a moment. As we walked along a corridor, practically rubbing elbows with others, I turned my head and looked into Waldenbooks. Aside from the clerk at the register and a single individual near the back of the store reaching up to one of the shelves, the store was completely empty! I turned to my wife, who is well aware of my love of books, and I said, “Look at how empty that store is. That is sad. That is really sad.”

She remarked something about how, more and more, people are turning to the Internet or electronic devices for their reading. That picking up an actual hardcover or paperback book and turning its pages is becoming a thing of the past.

That is sad.

RA


good lord....
what's the point of the mentioning the rudeness?



Considering they went out of business last year and liquidated, that's not particularly surprising, except for the part sbout there being a clerk in there to begin with.

exactly. well almost exactly.
ack! i'm sorry cornflake, that was rude.

i meant to say that if my memory serves me waldenbooks went out of business in 2011.

please accept my apologies.
 

AVS

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I hope book stores do not become obselete. I got a Kindle paperwhite for Christmas. I've long held off getting one, something nostalgic about physical books I guess. I love book stores and the thought of them going the same way as record stores is a sad one.

However, I can get books instantly, and perhaps more importantly I can carry my library of Very Important Books with me at all times. If I read a book on the Kindle and love it (really love it) I will order a hard copy too.

On a more positive note, I can already see I am buying and accessing more books than I did, and I feel that's a general experience.
 

Medievalist

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She remarked something about how, more and more, people are turning to the Internet or electronic devices for their reading. That picking up an actual hardcover or paperback book and turning its pages is becoming a thing of the past.

That is sad.

I think part of the problem is that Amazon is selling so many printed books that smaller chains and sometimes smaller bookstores are no longer able to compete.

I'm seeing used book stores coming back, and thriving, and in some areas, independent, locally owned book stores are back and doing well. I'm hoping both trends increase.

I'm hoping that it means that more printed books will be produced as durable objects, with better paper, ink, and bindings, so that they will last.

But I also am very grateful that more books are available as ebooks; I have a hard time reading many print books because of the type, and because my hands get tired rapidly when I have to grip anything.
 

ReflectiveAcuity

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Considering they went out of business last year and liquidated, that's not particularly surprising, except for the part sbout there being a clerk in there to begin with.

Are you sure it was a Waldenbooks? Because they don't exist anymore.

i meant to say that if my memory serves me waldenbooks went out of business in 2011.

In response to those who have pointed out how Waldenbooks went out of business in 2011, it was in fact a Waldenbooks for many years at that location in the mall I visited, and I’m almost certain it was still a Waldenbooks' sign I saw hanging above the store’s entrance. I just did some research, however, to clear up my confusion, and realized you are all correct. The store at that mall is now a “Books-A-Million”.
 

shadowwalker

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Maybe it's just the location. The two B&Ns in the city near me are always filled, and over Christmas you could barely move. And although they do have other items (games, DVDs, etc) the crowds were among the books.
 

Medievalist

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The store at that mall is now a “Books-A-Million”.

I believe that Books-A-Million primarily sells remaindered books, that is new books that are excess stock or liquidated "remaindered" stock from the distributor or publisher.

That might explain the low traffic during a shopping period when people are typically looking for specific books for gifts.
 

Write_Askew

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I came in here totally expecting a discussion about this article foretelling the downfall of Barnes and Noble in a manner similar to the late (and missed) Borders. I can't say I agree with all that's in the article, but it did give me food for thought.

That said, I can't imagine a time when there aren't books in print. I'm sure fifty years from now I'll look back on that comment and laugh, but I try not to envision a future without pen and ink books. It bothers me. I think there is still a market out there for paperback books. I hope there is.

My town's Borders closed and I was disappointed. If my town's Barnes and Noble closed too, I might go crazy. There aren't any indie stores where I live, and a scarily low number of used book stores.

This may not be a great contribution to this conversation, since books can be printed without the existence of brick and mortar stores, but I thought it was worth considering.
 

Medievalist

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There aren't any indie stores where I live, and a scarily low number of used book stores.

This may not be a great contribution to this conversation, since books can be printed without the existence of brick and mortar stores, but I thought it was worth considering.

No, I think it's important. I'm increasingly weirded out by Amazon's tactics. I think the DOJ is looking at the wrong corporations.

Brick-and-mortar stores are still driving books sales in ways that people outside of sales and publishing may not realize.

And I think that's especially true of Barnes and Noble, who in some ways get ebooks much better than Amazon. I love the way they sell both print and ebooks in their store. I read an interview that I'll try to find with someone in the executive hierarchy of B and N who noted how often readers would buy a print and an ebook copy of a book; that matches my personal habits, as well as the data I helped collect in the dawn of ebooks about how people read and bought books.

I truly don't see ebooks and printed books as competitor, any more than I see paperback and hardcover as true competitors.

I do think we'll see better quality POD production methods, that prices of POD will come down and quality will go up, and I think we'll see more options like the Espresso Book Machine, as well as easy to use digital vending systems for ebooks.

At least, that's my hope.
 

LJD

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I was at Indigo (Chapters-Indigo is the main chain here) a few days before Christmas and it was packed. The line to pay was about 15 minutes.
 

Komnena

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I bought a Kobo when Borders closed. I still remember feeling a bit of a traitor when I opened its box and my pleasure when I discovered that it was possible to obtain a classic library and carry it around in my purse. Books are books. I still love my printed books and always will. But I think it is also a great thing to have a small library in my purse for trips and the doctor's office.
 

Vito

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Are Books Becoming Obsolete?

I hope not. I usually can't tolerate sitting in front of a computer screen (or a Kindle or a Nook or a whatever) for more than 15 minutes at a time, so printed books are my main reading source. I also don't like audiobooks.

The other day I was thinking about something. Remember that old "Twilight Zone" episode in which Burgess Meredith plays the role of a bookworm who gets locked in a bank vault during a nuclear attack? And then he leaves the vault, discovers that he's the only one who survived the explosion, and happily builds stacks of books that he wants to read in his sweet sweet solitude? Well, that episode wouldn't have been very much fun if ol' Burgess had been using a Kindle!
 

IAMWRITER

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Last time I was in a bookshop I had to wait in a quene of about ten minutes to get served - granted it was a week before Xmas but still.

I hope physical books never became rare, nevermind extinct. They've survived all these years with just as many people loving them.

I myself dream of having a physical book printed and on shelves, maybe point to someone and say "I wrote that!". Also no e-books can ever replace the smell of a new book or an old book for that matter.
 

Ken

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I have returned to this forum to post this question. I hadn’t visited or written in this forum for a while because, quite frankly, I was very disappointed in what appeared to be extensive rudeness exhibited by many of the members here.

... what's this about "rudeness?" No one here is rude. You must be imagining things. People on AW are very nice and polite to one another. Sorry, but I just don't get this part of your post -- at all.
 

ReflectiveAcuity

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... what's this about "rudeness?" No one here is rude. You must be imagining things. People on AW are very nice and polite to one another. Sorry, but I just don't get this part of your post -- at all.

While reading your comment I began chuckling at what I thought was very humorous sarcasm. Then I reached the end and wondered if you were actually being serious. Well, let’s just say that I am confident from your comment that things have changed since the last time I was active here on an almost daily basis. I can tell you there was a time when it seemed all anybody wanted to do in this forum was attack others for nearly anything the person had said. I got the impression that there were a hell of a lot of people in here menopausing.

I once started a thread where I discussed my thoughts about the difference in writing styles of male and female novel authors. The thread was very popular and attracted a great flow of responses. So a moderator shut down the thread and never explained why, only stating that it was time to “stop this”, or something to that effect. It was still there, you just couldn’t post any more replies.

Anyway, hopefully things are a lot better here.

RA
 

jjdebenedictis

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I have returned to this forum to post this question. I hadn’t visited or written in this forum for a while because, quite frankly, I was very disappointed in what appeared to be extensive rudeness exhibited by many of the members here.
Making a point of saying that is incredibly rude.
 

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