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View Full Version : Book Stores.....fading away



Rich Riddle
01-03-2016, 9:19 PM
We went to Barnes and Noble tonight to look for a few books. Every book my wife asked about was greeted by the attendant with the response, "We don't have that title but can order it in for you." At a highly inflated price compared to the Internet of course. There was a coffee shop inside the bookstore that seemed busier than the store. For the record, they absolutely no woodworking books of any sort. They did have Fine Woodworking magazine. I am not certain how they stay open with high prices and no selection.

Brian Henderson
01-03-2016, 9:46 PM
Physical books are largely a dying breed. I haven't bought one in years. I haven't subscribed to a magazine in years either. It's just not worth it. B&N is barely hanging on with Amazon ruling the roost. I say good riddance to them.

Bruce Page
01-03-2016, 10:08 PM
I read 2-3 books a month. I haven't read a paper book in over 5 years.
I still read several magazines a month.

Erik Loza
01-03-2016, 10:32 PM
We have a local book store, Book People, that has succeeded and is thriving because they have a great local book section and also, there seems to always be a published author having a signing or lecture there. Like, 2-3 per week. They have created a niche that the big retail places and amazon can't exploit.

Erik

Richard McComas
01-04-2016, 1:41 AM
Amazon recently opened a brick and mortar store in Settle.


http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/03/454250311/amazon-opens-a-real-bookstore-in-seattle

David Helm
01-04-2016, 1:58 PM
I guess I am old hat. I read 4 to 5 books per month and they are all real books. Can't wrap my head around ebooks. Don't buy them from Amazon or Costco. Amazon and Costco get special deals from the publishers that independent bookstores cannot get ,thus they sell them for what bookstores have to pay for them. Fortunately, in this town we have one of the best independents in the country.

Dan Hintz
01-04-2016, 2:16 PM
I highly prefer paper to e-books (unless I need to search for specific data). When the local Books-a-Million went out of business, I stocked up.

David Masters
01-04-2016, 2:59 PM
I prefer paper books as well, but find the convenience of having an extensive library of books that can travel with me, too attractive to ignore. However, for non-fiction, I can almost always obtain a hardcover book for pennies while a digital copy on Amazon is almost always near publisher's price.

Dave

Scott Donley
01-04-2016, 3:01 PM
I at one time thought I would never use e-books, that was until my daughter gave me her Kindle when she upgraded. Iread 2/3 books a week now and could not afford to be doing that if I was buying at a brick and morter. I get all my e-books from the library and it has also let me discover some new authors that I would have never discovered if I was having to buy them.

Steve Peterson
01-04-2016, 3:02 PM
I also prefer paper to e-books and miss the local bookstores. The closest B&N is about 20 miles away and not really worth making a trip unless I am in the area for something else.

It is nice to be able to flip through the book to decide if it is worth reading. This is especially true for woodworking books, although most bookstores carry a really small selection.

Lately I have had better luck shopping for books at thrift stores. There are few woodworking books, but you can find many other topics. Prices are often around $2 to $4 each. Online used book dealers are usually $4 to $6 including the shipping and you can usually find woodworking books that are a few years old.

I also try to visit Powell's books in Portland whenever I am in town. They have a huge selection of used books. I am sure that a few other big towns have similar stores.

Steve

Matt Day
01-04-2016, 3:55 PM
Last time I was at my local B&N (a couple years ago), they had at least 6 ww'ing mags. Hope that hasn't changed.

John K Jordan
01-04-2016, 4:04 PM
I probably read 100 books a year. I buy a lot of electronic books to read on the Kindle (mostly fiction) and a bunch of paper books I want on the shelf. All of my woodworking, metal working, electronics, animal care, ceramics, carving books and so on are paper books. I can't put a sticky note tab an electronic book or flip back and forth between two places or write notes in the margin.

I buy most books, real and imaginary, from Amazon.

JKJ

Mike Ontko
01-04-2016, 4:27 PM
Barnes and Noble has always been lacking for inventory, unless you happen to be looking for romance fiction or other (IMHO) mostly useless drivel. This is probably the reason they've increased the size of their other in-store sections containing items that aren't specifically reading materials.

But depending on where you're situated, there are still brick-and-mortar shops that carry used or out-of-print books as well as newer offerings...and often on much more varied subjects than what you'd find in B&N. Seattle, WA has a place like this called Third Place Books (http://www.thirdplacebooks.com/) and I was at an even better place in Portland recently called Powell's (http://www.powells.com/).

I have a couple of books that I'm currently reading on an e-reader app on my tablet and cell phone (Android powered), as well as the digital editions of Mother Earth News and FWW. But I still receive (and prefer) paper-based magazine subscriptions in the mail and visit my local public library as often as I can. There's no sense in building a personal stock of books that you're not likely to ever read or refer to again.

Randy Rose
01-04-2016, 6:52 PM
There was a coffee shop inside the bookstore that seemed busier than the store. .

In order to understand this concept, you need to buy a Beret , take your laptop, order a double latte, free range organic Yak milk, mocha mint, free trade chocolate Frappucrapuccino and hang out.

Chris Padilla
01-04-2016, 7:07 PM
I still read a fair amount of paperback books as I have a fair collection. However I now need glasses to read and it is annoying (in general) but I still read 10+ minutes every night of something. I sleep much better reading. The local library is still an excellent and 'free' resource for books along with 'free' DVDs. I'll often try out an author there before plunking down cash for newer books.

I've read The Hobbit and LotR every even year summer since 1982 when The Hobbit was first introduced to me in 7th grade. Looking forward to it this summer! :D I think I'll start doing that with Game of Thrones for the odd summers although those are some long long books to read!

Frank Drew
01-04-2016, 8:11 PM
...highly inflated price compared to the Internet of course. I don't know what publishers, authors, bookstores, etc. make per book, but even though paper books are more expensive I don't think the price is "inflated" when compared to e-books. Actual books are singular objects, each book was manufactured; e-books, once the first one is in the system, essentially all that has to be done by the distributor is to hit the SEND button. There are none of the manufacturing and distributing headaches that paper publishers have to manage, so anything approaching even half the cost of a paper book surely is lots of profit. I like actual books and haven't bought many for myself in a while but often give them as presents -- I think most people like having been given a tangible object. I use my local library all the time but I've been thinking about getting a e-reader, maybe Kindle, maybe an iPad.

I agree that the future isn't bright for paper books or bookstores; most readers just want the content and don't particularly care how it's delivered if both are equally readable and convenient.

Myk Rian
01-04-2016, 8:45 PM
However, for non-fiction, I can almost always obtain a hardcover book for pennies while a digital copy on Amazon is almost always near publisher's price.

Dave
That's because the digital copy is a hard cover edition. Really.
A friend of ours requested a reason for an E-book being so expensive. That was the reply he got.
True story.

John K Jordan
01-04-2016, 8:46 PM
there are still brick-and-mortar shops that carry used or out-of-print books as well as newer offerings

I haven't been there in years, but when on business trips I always tried to get to The Tattered Cover in Denver, CO. Multiple floors packed with books, the most varied selection I have seen anywhere. I found out-of-print books I'd spent years searching for, right there on the shelf.

I joked that I spent $100/hr in that store - might not have been too far off...

JKJ

Brian Henderson
01-04-2016, 10:50 PM
I probably read 100 books a year. I buy a lot of electronic books to read on the Kindle (mostly fiction) and a bunch of paper books I want on the shelf. All of my woodworking, metal working, electronics, animal care, ceramics, carving books and so on are paper books. I can't put a sticky note tab an electronic book or flip back and forth between two places or write notes in the margin.

I buy most books, real and imaginary, from Amazon.

JKJ

Actually, if you have a decent app, you can do all of that with an e-book, plus you can search, highlight and it always remembers where you were. Try doing that with a real book that the bookmark fell out of.

Brian Henderson
01-04-2016, 10:52 PM
That's because the digital copy is a hard cover edition. Really.
A friend of ours requested a reason for an E-book being so expensive. That was the reply he got.
True story.

Publishers artificially inflate their first run e-books on purpose because they have deals with the physical book stores, that's why they charge as much for an e-book as they do for a hard cover edition. This is changing rapidly though. That's why the e-book market is skyrocketing while the physical book market is stagnating.

Rich Riddle
01-05-2016, 9:40 AM
Frank,

I meant that the local Barnes and Noble charges highly inflated prices for the same book as compared to Amazon and other Internet suppliers. I wasn't meaning to compare a printed book to an e-book. While having to open a "brick and mortar" store might merit some increase, even online suppliers of books have warehouses and those costs.

Frank Drew
01-05-2016, 9:58 AM
Rich,

Agreed. Problem with Amazon is that they're willing to accept lower margins until they drive every other retailer, of everything, out of business. Only slight exaggeration.

ALAN HOLLAR
01-05-2016, 2:26 PM
Real books are immensely satisfying. They have weight and smell, and the feel of the turning pages is rewarding. However, trying to lay on my side and read a 700 page book in bed, or carry enough books to cover a long vacation at 1 book every 1 or 2 days, makes an e-reader hugely attractive.

John K Jordan
01-05-2016, 2:59 PM
Actually, if you have a decent app, you can do all of that with an e-book, plus you can search, highlight and it always remembers where you were. Try doing that with a real book that the bookmark fell out of.

Actually, my opinion is ebooks are going to have to change dramatically before they will replace paper.

Yes, I have apps for tablets and computers and seven kindles, some loaned out to friends and family. I use them for fiction, non-fiction, and many reference books, dictionaries, concordances. However none are useful for the way I often use books.

I can see how electronic notes and highlights can work for some people and for some books, but not for me. I may have 5 or 6 paper books open to certain sections spread out around me, with other pages marked. I use tabs of high-tech adhesive Post-it-notes so bookmarks cannot fall out. In an e-book, just keeping a thumb in the index and flipping back and forth between the pages in the listing is a real pain. What can be done in seconds with a real book can unfortunately take MUCH longer with an ebook.

Here are some personal observations and issues:

I keep shelves full of woodturning and other books in my shop. When visitor or student asks about or has trouble with something, I can look at the shelf, pull off a book or two, to show or let them read and see the pictures, and even send them home with the book to borrow. Try that with a Kindle. No, sorry, not possible. (I do keep a couple of extra Kindles just for loaners when I want to share a book with a friend.)

I often lay a book on the copier and copy pages for quick reference, circling sections, write in the margins, and have that copy open in the sawdust or the milling chips next to my project. Not so easy with an ebook.

Try to compare passages from two or three different ebooks on a single reader. This makes research very difficult. (Not applicable for those who don't research.)

I have many friends who are avid readers. We often lend books to each other. Without this free sharing many of us would NEVER have the joy of discovering a new author or work. I just finished one on the history of clocks, one about Einstein, and am reading another called Feathers.

If I buy an ebook and don't like it or don't want to read it again I can delete it or just ignore it. If I buy a paper book and don't like it or want to read it again some day, I can give it to a friend or donate it to the library or hospital or kid's home or start a fire. Can't use a Kindle for kindling.

I have old books given to me and purchased for pennies from used book stores. Can't do that with an ebook that my friend's uncle Bob bought once. Dang, if I even know about it I have to buy it again and pay dollars, IF it is available in ebook form. Yes, I know there are archive efforts to provide almost every book in ebook form but many of the same limitations apply.

When I kick the bucket someday my kids cannot donate my ebook collection to the library, give titles to friends, or sell the lot at a yard sale. The thousands of dollars I've invested in ebooks is lost unless someone takes over my account. The thousands I've invested in paper books will probably be there.

I have some rare books that are quite valuable. They will probably only increase in value. I have some ebook versions of some rare books that have zero value and will never be worth more.

Another problem with ebooks is the formatting on many is horrible and the photographs are worse. My favorite Kindles for reading are not color screens, although I do have a couple with color.

Most of the periodicals hide the author's name at the beginning of the article/story. If I'm reading something and really like the author, I can't just look at the top of the page to remind me of the author - I have to go through some clicks/touches, swipes, or button manipulations to see the author then get back to my place.

I have over 400 books on the Kindle I use the most. Finding a particular book takes a lot of paging and scrolling and, oops, the one I want to glance through is "in the cloud" and I need a wifi signal or cell connection and charged battery to retrieve it before I can even open and hunt through it. This can require patience and a significant time.

The batteries on the paper books in my library never run down. The pages are MUCH bigger in the kinds of books I keep in my shop. The photos are often in color. I can easily organize my collection by subject or author by moving books on the shelf. I can scan the titles in a few seconds and find what I want.

I can see the paper book even in bright sunlight at the beach, even with sunglasses.

If I drop a paper book or sit on it or even get it wet it doesn't shatter or quit working. My cat knocked one of my tablets off the night stand and cracked the screen I can even accidentally drill a hole through a paper book and lose little. Yes someone could break in and steal the books in my shop but I suspect they would go for the tools first. Besides, the fencing, dogs, electronic approach sensors, alarm system, video surveillance, and 20 gauge shotgun provide a small measure of security.

And there is nothing like a sharing a comfy chair with a tiny child and letting him learn to turn pages.

To repeat: My opinion is ebooks are going to have to change dramatically before they will replace paper.

JKJ

Brian Henderson
01-05-2016, 3:29 PM
Or, your view of them will. It isn't going to be all that long until you're not going to have much of a choice. A lot of books currently are only coming out in ebook format. This will continue to grow. A lot of small press books will no longer exist in a physical book form. You'll have to choose between getting the ebook or not getting it at all. The thing that is going to change is you.

I used to be like you, and I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I wanted my physical books, I swore I'd never go to ebooks, but I have thousands of physical books already, I never sell any of them and I just have no more room. I have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves all over the house and all of them are full. My shop is full of books and magazines. I can put electronic versions of every single book I own on a single DVD. Storage is a problem.

I have nothing in the cloud. It is all on my device. They are organized so I can find anything quickly and easily. I can resize any of the pages on my tablet and it's all in color. I have yet to find a single environment that I go to that I can't read if I want. And I'm careful with my electronic devices, I have never, in my life, broken a screen or dropped a device. And your child is probably not going to grow up in a world where turning pages is a useful skill, even schools are getting away from physical textbooks.

You're welcome to your opinions, of course. I used to share them. Today, I have gone entirely digital and see no reason to go back.

Chris Padilla
01-05-2016, 5:28 PM
I heard how paper would be a thing of the past with the electronic age. Why would we need to print anything any longer?

I seriously doubt books will be going away any time soon....

Rich Riddle
01-05-2016, 6:14 PM
I heard how paper would be a thing of the past with the electronic age. Why would we need to print anything any longer?

I seriously doubt books will be going away any time soon....
I remember when they predicted a drop in paper production upon the advent of the computer. One of my dad's sister companies was a paper company, along with a foil company, a die company, and an engraving company. When computer's came along the paper company quadrupled their business.

Brian Elfert
01-06-2016, 12:38 AM
I remember when they predicted a drop in paper production upon the advent of the computer. One of my dad's sister companies was a paper company, along with a foil company, a die company, and an engraving company. When computer's came along the paper company quadrupled their business.

My employer used to print batch reports every day that numbered in the tens of thousands of pages a day. Some daily reports were six to eight inches thick. I used to wonder how it was possible for someone to actually read a report like that every single day. I suspect someone looked at the summary page every day and never read the rest of the report. The main print room used paper by the pallet.

The number of reports my employer printed for a fairly small company was ridiculous. The company made so much money at one time that I think they just set up any report someone asked for without question. The company is no longer nearly as profitable and all of the reports have been eliminated or converted to electronic reports.

Dave Anderson NH
01-06-2016, 11:31 AM
"The paperless office is about as likely as the paperless bathroom."

I too still like my paper books though I only purchase ones I might want to keep. The local library is my source for all the rest.

Joe Tilson
01-06-2016, 1:41 PM
Lately we have been checking the thrift stores for books. For instance, I found the whole Left Behind series and other like hardback books for $1.00 ea.
We have also found some good wood working books and mags. Was in Books-a-Million a few days ago and found the same situation as Rich did.

John K Jordan
01-06-2016, 6:35 PM
However I now need glasses to read and it is annoying...

My wife has failing eyesight and needs glasses for everything BUT reading! The reason she can read without glasses
a super-sized Kindle with the font made large - it looks to me like the print is almost 1/2" high!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GYWHSQ

JKJ

Rich Riddle
01-06-2016, 10:18 PM
I never realized how many woodworkers also read. This will shock the wife. She considers me to be a neanderthal.

Dan Hintz
01-08-2016, 7:24 AM
My wife has failing eyesight and needs glasses for everything BUT reading! The reason she can read without glasses
a super-sized Kindle with the font made large - it looks to me like the print is almost 1/2" high!

When SWMBO began having eye issues a few years back, I purchased a 23" monitor for her (to replace the 17" she was using). It pained me to see such a nice monitor run at 1024x768 :-/

Brian Elfert
01-08-2016, 9:00 AM
When SWMBO began having eye issues a few years back, I purchased a 23" monitor for her (to replace the 17" she was using). It pained me to see such a nice monitor run at 1024x768 :-/

A co-worker also ran a 22" widescreen monitor at 1024x768. It drove many of us crazy trying to help her as everything was distorted.

The worst I ever saw was a 17" CRT run at 640x480 with large fonts. I could read the text from across the room.

Moses Yoder
01-09-2016, 5:38 AM
My wife and I used to share an Amazon account. She gave me a Kindle for Christmas a few years back and I bought some ebooks on our account. Now we have separate accounts and I bought some more ebooks then bought an Amazon Fire. Near as I can tell, I cannot transfer the books from my Kindle that were purchased on our joint account to the Fire that was purchased on my account. That is what I read, I have not talked to Amazon yet. This is the problem with ebooks; in a few years you can no longer read them due to changes in technology. I have about 300 paper books from as early as 1914 or earlier and can still read them clearly.

Mark Blatter
01-09-2016, 6:19 AM
Real books are immensely satisfying. They have weight and smell, and the feel of the turning pages is rewarding. However, trying to lay on my side and read a 700 page book in bed, or carry enough books to cover a long vacation at 1 book every 1 or 2 days, makes an e-reader hugely attractive.
This is exactly how I feel. I enjoy the touch and feel of a real book. I don't buy many any more as I use the library for most of my reading, but I did get a Kindle for Christmas this year. I have been using it and enjoy the ease of carrying it around. When I go on vacation I would typically take 5 - 8 books with me from the library so my luggage was always very heavy. My plan is to only take the Kindle the next time. Yet I still strongly prefer the feel of printed books. I have some, such as LOTR, Enders Game/Shadow, Tunnel In the Sky, etc. that I reread every few years. I will always prefer reading those in paper. I can see the day when paper books are pretty much gone.

Years ago, my father was approached by the Fed Reserve to put in place nightly courier runs for checks in Montana. They would not however sign a long term contract, nothing more than two years, because they felt that checks would be gone in 2-4 years. This was in 1965. Our company was still running checks around the state, with the highest volumes ever in 2002. We were even flying 3 nightly dedicated charters for various banks and the Fed. However, most of those have all disappeared today. Time finally did catch up to the check via a younger generation, technology and cost. Debit cards are all that my kids use. Even I write at most 1 - 2 checks a month.

While I love paper books, my grandkids will likely seldom read anything but e-books.