The book buying paradox

Amazon_logoThere’s an interesting article up on Salon that looks at the relationship between booksellers and digital media. For a long time now we’ve heard stories of bookshops struggling. The New York times writes that bookstores are fleeing Manhattan due to impossibly high rents. Author James Patterson is giving $1 million of his own money to indie booksellers in order to help keep them afloat. “The future of books in America is at risk,” he said.

Salon, however, introduces an interesting and unexpected trend: the same digital media that has ostensibly hurt bookselling offline may actually be fueling an indie renaissance. Social media is driving consumers to shop locally, at the impassioned businesses in our own cities and towns. “There is increasing evidence that the same digital transformation that has so dramatically reshaped the publishing industry, and driven millions of consumers online, also paradoxically rewards locally rooted authenticity,” the article says. “Our digital tools are steering us toward brick-and-mortar stores that promise a more satisfactory consumer experience than either chain stores or online emporiums can provide.”

We assume that digital media drives traffic to sites – the Amazons and Barnes and Nobles of the Web. That beloved independent booksellers can benefit too is most encouraging.

You can read the full article here.




One thought on “The book buying paradox

  1. The rise of digital books has always brought up conflicting feelings for me. On the one hand, as a reader, I love the convenience and inexpensiveness of buying online. As a writer, though, I worry about how undercutting price and consolidating distribution hurts my profession. I’m encouraged to see that there are some positive outcomes for indie bookstores. It gives me hope that digital and physical books will find a way to coexist.

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