Monday, January 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Book Sellers

The news last week for books was a good news/bad news kind of thing. First the good news: Amazon reported that it sold more ebooks than print books on Christmas Day 2009 for the first time ever. That’s because Amazon’s dedicated ereader, the Kindle, practically flew off the shelves this Christmas, beating out top contenders like the Wii Fit.

"We are grateful to our customers for making Kindle the most gifted item ever in our history," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of "On behalf of employees around the world, we wish everyone happy holidays and happy reading!"

I’m sure Jeff Bezos is singing Christmas Carols all the way to the bank. With all those new Kindle purchases over Christmas (an estimated 500,000 have been sold so far) most new recipients wanted to take their Kindles out for a test drive, and so they purchased an ebook or two on Christmas Day to see what the reading experience was like. No need to wait for the postman to bring the print books in a week or two. With an ereader such as the Kindle, your desired ebook can be downloaded to the device in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Ebooks and ereaders provide the ultimate in instant gratification for book lovers.

And now for the bad news: McNally Robinson, the largest independent book seller in Canada, is in receivership protection. The news broke my heart. They have closed two of their four stores, one in Toronto and one here in Winnipeg, at Polo Park Mall. The Polo Park location was only opened in April 2008 after extensive renovations. The remaining stores, one in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and one in Winnipeg at the Grant Park Mall location, will remain open.

I know that news about a book seller falling on hard times is hardly unique these days. Many independents in both Canada and the US have disappeared. The Borders/Waldenbooks chain in the US is in trouble. I guess the news about McNally Robinson has hit me hard because it’s so close to home. It’s also a very author friendly place. Many local authors have their book launches at McNally Robinson, and the store is really great about promoting local authors and carrying their books. In fact, I attended my friend (and Honorary Prairie Chick) Ishbel Moore’s book launch for her new book “Blood Tapestry” at the end of November at McNally Robinson. Many more authors from across Canada and around the world stop at McNally Robinson on their book tours. Without such support from interested booksellers, authors suffer.

Right now I’m trying to figure out if the good news outweighs the bad. If Amazon sells enough ebooks, will it matter if bricks and mortar booksellers like McNally Robinson close stores or disappear altogether? Where will authors, especially print authors, go to launch and promote their books if book stores disappear? Will Amazon care about authors the way independents like McNally Robinson do?

And another thing. I read an opinion piece recently that asked whether dedicated ereaders like the Kindle will suffer the same fate as eight track tape players and VCRs. Will some new and better gadget replace the ereader? Like agent Nathan Bransford, I truly believe the ebook is here to stay. But will people discover they don’t need a dedicated ereader and they’d rather read on a multi-purpose device like an I-phone? Are you planning to buy an ereader in near future? Read Nathan’s Bransford’s list of the 10 E-Reader myths to get some perspective on the devices.

Is the Christmas 2009 Kindle-buying frenzy an aberration or the way of the future?

I’d love to hear author opinions and experiences in promoting books at physical bookstores, and/or at Amazon. What’s working for you? If you’re a reader, have you attended a reading or signing of an author’s book at a bookstore? Did seeing the author encourage you to buy the book? Does reading about a book online encourage you to buy a book?


Janet said...

There was a lot of talk at our book club meeting in December about the Kindle being available in Canada. One of the ladies travels overseas for 3 months every winter and takes tons of books with her (avid reader). She refuses to buy a Kindle, or any reader, because she likes to read on the beach and loves the feel of a real book. Most everyone agreed that there's nothing like a real book in your hands.

But, they do seem to be the future of publishing, don't they? I'm going to wait some more, just because I got caught in the VHS versus Betamax fight and ended up choosing the wrong technology! Kind of like the Blue Ray issue right now - and with the DVD player we purchased, I just hope I haven't made the same mistake again.

There are a lot of author readings and book launches around here - I plan on going to a few this year. And by the look of the overflowing tables at the Surrey Conference, I really don't think people are ready to give up on real books just yet - besides, how do you get an author to sign your copy of an e-book? Jana - have you done 'signings'?

Jana Richards said...

Good morning Janet,
No, I haven't done any signings yet. Number one, I'm terrified no one will show up, and number twoI don't have any books available in print. So far all my books, including the novella coming out Jan.20, are only available as ebooks. Like you said, it's hard to sign an ebook.

Most writers I know are happy when their books come out as ebooks, but they are positively thrilled when their books are produced in print. Many write how wonderful it is to hold their own book in their hands for the first time. There is something so tangible about an actual paper book.

That said, I believe ebooks are starting to be more accepted. More people are thinking about them as a real alternative, or as an addition to the way they read. And as I said in my blog, more people are shelling out the money to buy a reader. I just hope that means more people are actually reading!

Thanks for commenting.

Silver James said...

Good morning, Chicks! I received a Kindle for Christmas. I was looking at e-readers anyway and leaning toward the Sony as I'm not a huge Amazon fan. However, the gift-giver didn't ask my opinion. Frankly? I love the stupid thing (and probably would whatever device I'd gotten). SOOOO much easier on my hands to read, so much so that I ordered an e-copy of a book I already had in hardback waiting on my shelf to be read.

Around here, the indie bookstores aren't romance friendly. The big-box stores are more than happy to set up signings for our OKRWA members. Even so, I hate to see any business close.

As a writer, I chose to go with an e-pub/small publisher because they bought. Am I still looking for the traditional publishing route? Yes. If I am picked up by a major publisher, I'll certainly encourage them to release the e-book at the same time as the print.

The generations coming up behind us are "wired." Publishers and authors need to tap into this potential source of readers and the way to do that is with extra content in the ebooks--links and and maybe videos/booktrailers. As for autographed books? I haven't figured that out yet...though I know of authors who offer signed bookplates to their readers who send a SASE. Something to consider.

Great topic for the new year, Jana!

Karyn Good said...

I don't own a ereader. Yet. But the idea of purchasing one is perculating in the back of my mind. They're going to have a place in the future along side the reading of print books, I'm sure. Future readers will want options and they're growing up with all kinds of hand held and portable technology. They're comfortable with it.

I still like to wander among the bookstore shelves and debate over which book to buy, so the closing of one that's part of a great tradition in book selling saddens me, too. I've haven't attended a book signing in a bookstore but I would definitely stop by one if I were interested. Years ago when I lived in a bigger center I attended a few readings, one by Timothy Findley that will always be a highlight for me.

I do like to hear about or discover authors and books online! Its remembering the names when I'm at the bookstore or library that I have a problem with - must start writing the names down and putting them in my wallet!

Great post today, Jana.

Kathy Otten said...

Interesting topic and hard to know where technology will take us. I can see a day when the Kindle and other e-readers will be replaced with a device that does it all, but does it matter? People will still be reading e-books, probably more than ever. Nor do I think print will disappear. Eventually they maybe available as POD with those big machines at a book cafe where you wait for the book of your choice to be printed in 20 min. If book sellers want to stay in business, they will have to find ways to adapt to the market. I hate to see book stores disappear. It makes me feel like Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Janet, your comment about your friend reading on the beach reminded me about one of the best features of the Sony eReader - I could read it with the sun shining directly on the screen whereas I can't do that with a book - the sun glaring on the paper is too bright so I squint, tear up, then can't see the words.

I'm not buying into the blue ray hype because of the same issue.

Good post, Jana. I don't want a Kindle because I don't like the way Amazon handled their fiasco last summer where they automatically deleted books off personal Kindles after people had paid for them. I don't like anyone with that power. (Libraries excluded)

I still really like reading books on my iTouch and am finding I'm giving equal time to my TBR print pile and my TBR iTouch list. The best of both worlds.

Erika said...

I do not have any plans to purchase an e-reader. I like to have a book in my hand, although I am a fan of books on tape/CD. I don't want to say I will "never" buy one, but I don't see one in my immediate future. I like having an actual book. Guess I'm old fashioned?

Vince said...

Hi Jana:

Thanks for this post. It is a favorite topic of mine.

I’ve had a Sony eReader since they first came out. For me it was a matter of being able to make the print size large enough for me to read. I need an eReader.

My Sony is now back at Sony being up graded so it can use EPUB format. This was a free upgrade and Sony even paid the postage. I will have to see how it works out.

While I like the larger size type, eBooks have been a hassle. My real good computer at home was ‘killed’ by a virus even though I had all kinds of anti-virus software on it. It had to be restored. So even though all the ebooks were saved first, none will work now since the restored machine sees the software as being pirated. This is like having all the printed books you’ve bought over the years disappear if you broke your eyeglasses and bought new ones!

I can also only use the eBook on one computer so I can’t read the same book at home that I am reading at work. The eBooks I bought at eHarlequin will not work on my Sony reader. Even books that are supposed to work on the Sony reader, like unprotected PDF files, are not formatted for the Sony and cannot be read because the type is so small or so light I can’t see it. Some of these problems are supposed to be fixed with the Sony upgrade. I will find out when the reader comes back.

Now for a hard fact: eBook readers will come down so low in price, even free, that the print book will die. I expect eBook readers to become like the photo film box that became the camera itself. I expect eBooks to come packaged with the Reader for free. This has to happen. This fact will forever change school textbooks. Textbooks will be upgraded at any time and not require repurchase. Great textbooks will be commissioned by non-profit institutions and given free to school districts. A whole book could be written about the massive changes that will come about when eReadres are virtually free.

And you are there!

BTW, we need a virtual bookstore format for eBooks where you go online and ‘see’ row after row of books, just like you would see in a real store, (except they are all facing out) and in this way you can browse books like in a real store and be surprised by books you never thought existed. This would restore the real store experience, to a degree.

Also: there needs to be a convention for an author to sign an ePad, like for Visa in a store, and have that signature transferred to the customer’s eBook reader copy. This will be very easy when eBooks come with free readers.

Enjoy the New Year and all the new changes to come.


Jana Richards said...

Hey Silver,
Congrats on getting the Kindle for Christmas. It sounds like you were one of many people who received one this year. My sister-in-law got a Sony reader from my brother-in-law. He researched and thought it was the best one for her. But the Kindle is cool because of the wireless download. Unfortunately, that feature is as yet unavailable in Canada. Amazon only made the Kindle available here a month or two before Christmas, and then only one of their older models.

The great thing about McNally Robinson is that it is very author friendly. There is a book reading/signing at the remaining Winnipeg store probably 5 nights out of 7. They run an ad in the paper on Saturdays announcing the schedule for the week with pictures of the authors and the names of their books. I understand from my friend that the author has to pay a fee for the services offered (newspaper ad, books brought in, beverages and goodies served at the reading etc.) but it's really quite reasonable.

On the other hand, I've never heard of a book signing at our large chain bookstore in Canada, Chapters. I'm probably wrong and they probably do such things, but if they do, they're not well publicized, at least not in my city.

I think you're absolutely right about the next generation of readers. They will expect to read online and I think they'll want those added features you're talking about. I guess we'll find out in the near future what kind of device they want to read on.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Hayley E. Lavik said...

Jana, I was very upset to hear about McNally Robinson too. I'm just glad the Saskatoon location is still going strong, I love that store.

I've been to a few author signings, and they can motivate me to buy a book I might not have otherwise, but that doesn't mean I'll actually read the book. It can just be the desire to support a fledgling author, which is no bad thing for them, I suppose. In terms of promotion though, I don't think a lack of brick and mortar book stores really hinders authors that much. It's pretty much unanimous now that targeting a local market isn't enough, and that book signings can be great for drawing in a few new readers, but they'll never hit the same scale as online promotion efforts can.

Absolutely though, I hate to see beloved bookstores go, lose the chance to see authors, and certainly wouldn't say no to doing signings if the opportunity arose for me.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karen,
I probably wouldn't have purchased an ereader for myself, but my husband bought me an Sony reader for Mother's Day in 2008 just after they first became available in Canada. I really like it. Because it is not backlit and because you can make the font larger (which I love to do) it is easy on the eyes. I love it for travelling because I can pack a bunch of books in it and slip it in my purse. The more I use it the more comfortable I've become with it.

Like Silver said, young readers will expect those added features to their reading experience.

The closing of two of McNally Robinson's stores came as a real shock here in Winnipeg because it is such an institution here and because we all thought they were doing so well. After all they just opened the Polo Park store in April 2008. It was a beautiful big store. Whenever I went in there it always seemed to be busy. But apparently customers did more browsing then buying. They owe money to a lot of people apparently, but fortunately a lot of the local businesses they owe money to say that are willing to continue working with McNally Robinson. Apparently one of the ways they hope to dig themselves out of the hole is through an online presence. I hope it works for them.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Kathy,
Thanks for stopping by.

It probably doesn't matter what kind of device we read ebooks on, just as long as we're reading them. One thing I'm grateful to big companies like Sony and Amazon for is that they brought ebooks and ereaders into the mainstream. Before the Kindle a lot of people had never heard of ebooks before. They are now on their way to becoming as well known as MP3 files. Let's hope they become as popular!


Jana Richards said...

Hi Anita,
I so agree with you about the back light (or lack of one) on the Sony reader. It makes it so much easier on my highly nearsighted, and bifocaled eyes.

That I-Touch of yours sounds like one dandy little device. The gossip is that Apple is going to come out with some kind of ereader device in the near future. Stay tuned!


Jana Richards said...

Hi Erika,
I think there is no "wrong" way to read a book. It's a matter of personal preference and convenience. At home I like to read a print novel. If I'm travelling I like my ereader. I like to listen to books on tape/CD in the car. My husband loves listening to books on his MP3 player. It's great to give people variety.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Vince,
I'm sorry to hear you've been having so much trouble with your reader. And I had no idea you had to send the reader back to Sony to have it upgraded to Epub. I thought it was something I could just upgrade online, but I haven't done anything about it yet. Could you email offline at jana dot richards at hotmail dot com and tell me how you went about this upgrade?

There are programs that will convert a PDF file to a file that the Sony can read. One is called Caliber and I used it to convert my own novels and put them on my reader. Unfortunately, in my last computer crash I lost the Caliber program. However, it is a free program that I can download from the Internet. Technology can be so frustrating. Maybe that's why we love the low-tech feel of a regular book!

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Vince.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Hayley,
You make very good points about the online promotion. It's great to get local support, but it's pretty limited. With the Internet I can reach people all over the world (at least I hope so!)

But yes, it really hurts to lose a local business, especially one so supportive of authors.


Mary Ricksen said...

I'd love one!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Mary,
You never know. Like Vince said, maybe they'll come down in price in the future like so many other electronic gadgets. Then they'll be affordable. Everyone will have one, just like everyone's got a cell phone now.


Carol North said...

Hi Prairie Chicks:
This ebook vs print discussion is giving me a deja vous feeling.

In 1983, I started a career as a technical writer. My writer friends told me I was making a very wrong choice, and should be a marketing, advertising, or article writer like they were. I liked tech writing, so continued. Within a few years, I was being asked for help finding work by the same people who laughed at me. By then I was flying all over the country on writing assignments and making a healthy income. I did help three people break into tech editing.

I believe a similar situation wil occur with ebooks, where they overtake print in numbers and income for authors. I believe writers need to have their books published in both electronic and print formats. Mine are.

Remember, the young love the feeling of an iPhone, netbook, or Kindle in their hands.

BTW, I just added a Kindle to my eReader collection.

PS. In lieu of signing a print book, I give free signed excerpt booklets to my ebook buyers. Also, my publisher has for her authors' purchase gift coupons for ebooks.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Carol,
I'm glad you've joined the discussion. Thanks for stopping by.

As an tech writer you're probably way more savvy about these things then I am. But I totally agree that books need to be in all kinds of formats, from print to ebook, to audio to MP3. People want the variety, and as you say, young people love their electronic devices. Print is just going to be one option. One of my commenters mentioned the new machine that prints one book for you in a matter of minutes. After being caught in a 19th century time warp for so many years, publishing is finally taking off!

I've got to ask you about the excerpt booklet you give out. How do you print them and how big are they? It sounds like a very inventive idea.


Missy Roth said...

I'm a reader who thinks she'll someday be an author. I've been contemplating an eBook reader, but with the availability of the readers for PC, there's no reason to marry yourself to one type. I was seriously looking at the Nook from BN, but honestly, for that price, or close to it, I can buy a Netbook which will connect to the internet and allow me to buy books from anywhere and read them all. Plus, I can do some writing and listen to music while I read. I love the concept of the Kindle, Nook, and others, but I'm too frugal to commit to one.

I also like to own an actual book when I truly enjoy it, but as for the reading experience, my young hands are arthritic due to computer use and sometimes it hurts to hold a book. This is where eBooks step in and give me some comfort.

I believe eBooks are here to stay, just as mp3 music is and I always wonder how musicians make a living when people buy one song at at time, but fortunately, books are not far off from the price to purchase an eBook paperbacks, anyway). I'm interested to see how this affects authors in the future. Maybe it will keep the "techie" kids in books!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Missy,
Thanks for stopping by and joining the chat.

Even though I have a Sony reader and I enjoy it, I probably wouldn't have bought one for myself. My dear husband surprised me with it. I've got that same frugal gene that you have!

My dh bought himself a netbook (he lets me use it occassionally) for around the same price as my reader. I really like that the netbook can be used for a variety of purposes. And it's not much bigger than a reader, making it very portable and great for travel. I don't know which direction readers of the future will take; will we want dedicated readers or multi-purpose devices?

Maybe it doesn't matter as long as people are reading!

I hope you stop by again Missy!


Vince said...

Hi Jana:

I did email you just now. Look for it.


Margaret Tanner said...

It is bad luck about a bricks and mortar store closing it's doors, After all they usually employ local people. How many jobs are created by Amazon? And really, the authors don't win either, because Amazon take such a big cut of Royalties. Also they generally push the big name authors to the detriment of the lesser known.

StephB said...

I was one who got gifted a Kindle and bought ebooks on Amazon on Christmas. I have to admit, I love my Kindle. Ebooks are the way of the future. I think the price for an ebook is a big advantage. Ebooks are becoming more accepted. What does it mean for author signings and personal author contact? Not sure. It's hard to autograph an ebook, but I know this - sales have increased since Amazon introduced the Kindle. It's a new market out there.


Debra St. John said...

E-books do seem to be the wave of the future...or the wave of now. But for me, there's nothing like walking into the bricks and mortar store and being SURROUNDED by books. I really hope they don't all disappear.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Margaret,
I've heard the same thing about Amazon taking a big cut from our royalties. They take something like 65% whereas other online booksellers take quite a bit less. I feel bad for the people who have lost their jobs at McNally Robinson, and I feel bad for the community losing a business.

But the reality is that Amazon is a big player in the publishing world. They do give opportunities for authors to promote on their site through Author Central. I've done some work on my profile there, but I really need to explore what else I can do.


Jana Richards said...

Hey Steph,
Welcome to the Prairies! And congrats on receiving a Kindle for Christmas.

There's no doubt that ebooks needed a great reader before they could really take off, and with the Kindle and Sony reader we have two good options. More importantly, having these two companies get behind ebooks rises their profile. People didn't know or care about ebooks before these companies became involved. You're absolutely right. Ebooks are the way of the future. Or at least one of the ways of the future.


P.L. Parker said...

I have a Sony reader and quite frankly, I still buy print books. Just the comfort of holding all those pages in my hand and knowing there is something wonderful in there to discover. An e-reader just doesn't give me the same feeling of impending joy. I tried one book signing, but because I am basically very shy, it was a traumatic experience for me. I survived and did well, but don't know that I'd want to do it again (unless of course I become very famous and HAVE to do it). LOL.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Debra,
Thanks for stopping by. I really hope that bookstores don't disappear. I feel the same way about them that you do. Let's hope we don't lose any more bookstores than we already have.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Patsy,
I'm glad you stopped by. Thanks for joining the discussion.

It took me a while to get comfortable with my Sony Reader. Once I took it on a trip I was hooked and now I love it. But I still love a print book and would never want to lose them.

I've never done a book reading/signing. At McNally Robinson it's traditional for an author to read a bit from her book and answer a few questions from the audience before signing books. It's kind of an event, and you can even have goodies from the restaurant if you want. I'm terrified that even if I did have a book out in print to sign, no one would show up at my signing! I'm pretty shy myself so I understand how you feel. A local author was interviewed on the radio the other day about her experience at book signings. She talked about the wonderful experience she had at McNally Robinson with all her friends and family there, and the support the book store gave her. And then she talked about signing her book at Costco. Apparently people avoided making eye contact with her, let alone bought her book! I'd be afraid that would be my experience!


connie said...

Hi Jana
Wow, I have to get out more! I wouldn't know an MP3 if there were half a dozen sitting at the kitchen table.
I was horrified to hear about McNally Robinson! If there is any talk of closing the Saskatoon branch, I may chain myself to the door.
P.A. lost its really good second hand bookstore, which also ordered in any new books the faithful wanted. We are left with Coles. period.
I am of two minds about Coles. I had a signing there and sold more books at a signing than had sold at one in a Coles in this province. My book even outsold the book of a famous NHL star at a signing in S'toon that same day. The staff was largely responsible. They were terrific in helping every possible way, including a big newspaper ad, free coffee and doughnuts - even flowers on the table! They sold a lot of my books - BUT. The big computer in Toronto decided no more local books.
Maybe if I had a reader I would enjoy ebooks more. I was introduced by a Harlequin offer, but one day I discovered they seem to have taken them back. Reading a really lengthy book e.g. a Rutherford or Gabaldan isn't enjoyable on the computer. I want the book. I have a new big chair that is soft and comfortable and I can drape myself over it like a teenager and that's where you will find me - with a book in my hand. Am I conservative or an old fogey? Whatever, I would be happy to move into the next century and try a reader, but don't mess with my chair and don't TOUCH my book.
I think books will survive. Think of all the professors who make their latest book required reading.
Besides, when I go to that big reading club in the sky, I want 'passing on' to occur in a second hand bookstore and trust me, I will find a way to take the book with me.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Connie,
It doesn't surprise me that you would do so well at a book signing. I'm sure you were so charming that that poor hockey player didn't have a chance!

I'm sure books aren't going anywhere so your comfy chair is safe. And if I know you, when you go to that big used book store in the sky, I'm sure you'll find a way to take your books with you!


connie said...

I wasn't more charming - just cuter

Vince said...

Hi All:

Wow: 35 comments! Interesting topic.

I just want to add the fact that eBooks are often much less expensive. A bestseller will come out in hardbound for $24.95 and be sold at discount stores for $17.50 or so. But sometimes you have to wait for the book to make the top 10 best sellers to get this discount in your local store – if you get it at all. Then you have local tax. Here it is 10%. The same book, as an eBook, is often just $9.99, and there is no postage, handling, or tax. Locally you have to pay for the gas to get to and back from the store. If the trip is only to buy the book, that is a real expense compared to the price of the book you are buying.

I just wonder how big the eBook market would be if they cost the same price as real books. Price alone may be all the eBooks need and this advantage gets bigger and bigger the cheaper eBook readers get.


Helena said...

Just getting back in the groove, Jana, and you just about gave me a heart attack with your McNally news. So thankful the store in Saskatoon is safe (for now). My family all know it is my second home, and are not surprised when I make my first stop there when I go to the city.

I have been to countless author readings/signings at McNally. And buy many books and magazines there. They stock a lot of classic movies on DVD and have a fairly extensive music CD section. Lots of people who don't necessarily buy books go to the Prairie Ink Restaurant for coffee, baked goodies, and excellent meals.

I have a personal rule about supporting independent bookstores. I have never used Amazon, but recently ordered my first book online from McNally's. I renew my Avid Reader card in the month when they offer a discount, and I'm sure I easily make it up with the 10% discount I get all year on books and coffee/food. All in all, I would be devastated if McNally's folded in Saskatoon. They do face competition from Heather's chain down the street(the neverending saga of Coles / W.H.Smith / Chapters /'forget the current name'/ which I never go to.

I don't own, nor do I intend to buy in the near future, an ereader. I have a few ebooks that I have saved on a flash drive to use on my laptop. I am considering a netbook for travel, but I really prefer a 'real' book on a plane or train. (I know -- I'm just an old luddite from way back. I haven't mastered the art of downloading stuff that's supposed to be available on some sites!)

Great blog, Jana. Generated lots of very interesting discussion.

Jana Richards said...

Hey Connie,
You're very cute. No wonder everyone bought your books!


Jana Richards said...

Hi Vince,
Good point about the price point of ebooks. If the price of ereaders and other reading devices comes down, and ebooks cost substantially less then print books (especially hardcover), it should do a lot to push ebooks forward.

One other point I want to make. I love books but I don't like clutter. There are some books I would never get rid of, but I am fast running out of space in my house. One of the great things about ereaders is that your books take up less space. And if there is an ebook I really love, I can always purchase it in print.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Helena,
Yes, the news about McNally Robinson took me by surprise too. Because they expanded I, and everyone else it seems, assumed they were doing well. Owner Paul McNally said that in hindsight it probably wasn't a good idea to expand during a recession. Apparently the store in Toronto was losing money for them big time.

Hopefully the store in Saskatoon is secure. With loyal customers like you, I'm sure they'll survive.


Danielle Thorne said...

Hi Janet,
Interesting article. I know things will change, but as of right now I don't think ebooks are shutting down the brick bookstores--I really think it's just the huge competition of huge bookstore chains plus Amazon. The first to suffer are the smaller bookstores, and then bigger chains that just aren't big enough...I don't think brick bookstores and cafes will disappear completely. Let's hope not. We humans still need to interact in the flesh, even with our ereaders!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Danielle,
You make a good point. What we are seeing here are chains getting bigger and bigger. It's happened in many other industries so it's no surprise it's happening to bookstores.

You also make a good point about people needing human contact. The nice thing about bookstores is that you can meet friends, have coffee or lunch, or shop. Aside from the shopping, you can't get that kind of thing online.

Thanks for stopping by.