Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Future of Bookstores

It's the morning of July 21st, 2007. The last Harry Potter book is out. You forgot to pre-order it. You decide to go to the local bookstore and pick up a copy. You walk into a bookstore, browse the bookshelves but can't find the book. It's sold out. The bookstore manager checks the store computer and confirms that no print copy is available. You are disappointed. The bookstore manager says that they can order a print copy for you but it will take a few days. Everybody else will have read the book by that evening, except you. That's not how you read a Potter book. It HAS to be read on the day it hits the bookstores. You curse your memory, your laziness, and your lousy luck.

And then the store manager adds " [. . .] we can sell it to you in other formats, some of which could be ready for downloading by the time you get home. How would you like it?"

Is that even possible?

In fact it is imperative that bookstores, if they want to survive and thrive, also distribute books in multiple formats, including digital content.
With books increasingly available in multiple formats -- among them digital "e-books" and audio versions downloadable to your iPod -- what's to prevent people from bypassing brick-and-mortar bookstores entirely, further undercutting enterprises already under pressure from online competitors?
The Caravan Project -- a tiny, experimental venture is just what might help brick-and-mortar bookstores survive.


Ro said...

Nahiiiiiiin you have verbalized my nightmare. I haven't pre-ordered THE book yet! Hope it's not late by the time I come back...in case my folks disagree to do it for me :(

Geetika said...

Mandy, I'm sure you've been smart enough to preorder the book so.........may I borrow it after your done please (pretty please!!!!).