Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Real" Books versus E-Books - Part Two

Last January, I asked a question (and gave my answer) in a blog post about E-books vs. regular books. To see that post click here.

"What's the difference between Border's and Tower Records? The answer is simple, Tower Records is history! The big box book stores are soon to follow. There is simply no need for them anymore."

In 2010, Borders closed 30% of their stores. Yesterday, they filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to close all stores by September.  It would seem a valid assumption that Borders' primary competitor, Barnes and Noble would stand to greatly benefit from this news. Probably not!

Shortly before Borders announced the closing of 30% of their stores, Barnes and Noble was put up for sale. It's been almost a year and the sale has not even come close to taking place. I'm willing to bet that nobody is going to touch Barnes and Noble with a 10 foot pole.

Just one more nail in the coffin of our beloved hard copy books (unless you are willing to pay a premium). I suppose it could be said that we are already paying a premium.

What do you think about this?



  1. This summer when I was in the UK, one of the first things I noticed in the city was all the Borders stores had gone. I didn't know it was a worldwide thing though, I just thought they'd closed up their UK branches or something. It's too bad. I like that Kindles and their ilk are doing well as they're convenient and efficient, but I think it's a shame the book stores are closing.

    Having said that, kindle books need to be a LOT cheaper. There's no paper or ink or postage or other physical costs involved in the book anymore, so why do they cost almost as much as a regular book?

  2. Sadly, I think you're right and what's even sadder is that younger generations are not reading like they used to either.

  3. Hubby has a kindle and uses it (sometimes). I still love the feel of a paper book. For me, it's sad to see bookstores go.

  4. I wonder if one day Kindle will come up with a way of recreating that lovely, musty old smell of secondhand bookshops, and the crisp, citrus tones intermingled with coffee of new book shops that is part of the book buying experience!

  5. Pat, I have to tell you this is a bit of a sore subject for me. I'm quite a traditionalist about both reading and writing, and I have a hard time imagining this world without bookstores. I do not have a Kindle, nor any other type of reader, and I really don't want one. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing that compares, for me, to the feeling of holding a book in my hand, smelling the paper, and feeling its texture between my fingers. Flipping the page is the height of the reading experience. I'm not saying I'm against the reader as an option for reading. I'm just saying that the traditional book will always be my personal preference.

    For those of us who like to keep things traditional, I always say, "Let's go to a bookstore today, and buy a book, or two, or three." Let's keep those bookstores alive!


  6. I had always been a frequent guest of book stores ... love them! Unfortunately with the digital age, I find myself visting them much less. Do most of my shopping on Amazon or Audible. Sad though. I so loved browsing them and still do ...

  7. Makes me want to cry!!! I love bookstores. I don't have a Kindle or other e book reader. I like to hold a book in my hands. I like the smell of books. I like seeing books on my bookshelves. My daughter (15) actually feels the same way. I really feel sorry for her, as by the time she's my age, I don't think there will be books to buy anymore unless they are "antiques."

  8. I love bookstores and still read lots of books. But I am finding I'm reading more e-versions these days. I'm sad to see bookstores in such a tailspin. I like browsing the aisles and talking to people.

  9. Try curling with a good "e-book" when it's hosted on a 17" laptop!

    For hundreds of years, we have cherished our "real" books, somehow I don't see that changing.

    And I like your "no word verification" here, and will change mine over to that as well.

  10. I think it's sad to see those companies go, sometimes change is very frustrating.

  11. I think I am going to go camp out in a book store before it is too late to do so.

  12. I think there'll always be a print market even if it shrinks. I've played around with a Nook now, and I liked it, but I still love books too. Plus there's the whole out of print market that I think will mean that as more bookstores close, used bookstores should start to crop up more.

  13. turn about is fair play. The independent book stores that the big boxes put out of business may now return. There may be a future for print on demand as well.

  14. I agree re: turn about is fair play, but I also (despite myself) love the big box book stores. Have not gone digital book yet, but I expect to soon. After my latest, very expensive, two purchases of hardbound resource books, I think it's about time. I wonder about availability of some of the smaller-press publications.

    Pat, do you remember that HUGE, wonderful used book store on Colorado Blvd. in (oh, geez, my mind is going), it was near Pasadena, maybe Eagle Rock???? You walked through the warren-like stacks (literally stacked) and they could locate ANYthing for you. They actually knew if they had it or not and knew where it was. Now I'm trying to remember what book that was. Could have been "The Day on Fire" (novel with a yellow cover) by Rimbaud. Anyway, I was over-the-top impressed. Now we just enter into Google. It's kind of a toss-up as far as amazingness. Each with its charm, its pros and cons.

  15. P.S. I always wanted to own a used book store, but there was no need, because I found other ways to not make any money :)

  16. The only up-side to all this is that millions of trees will be saved. I own a Sony Reader and love it, but I do hate to see bookstores close. The photos on e-readers are nothing like in books. I hope children's books will still be printed.

  17. I think it's a sign of the times in this technology driven world. I'm not thrilled with it, just powerless to stop it.

  18. Considering I buy mostly eBooks now and used to order most of my books online and through a book club anyway, I can see the end of most bookstores.

  19. There's a debate going on whether teacher's should opt to teaching typing as opposed to cursive writing in UK schools - although I think there is an arguement to teach both. Actually, my eldest was taught touch typing when he was 7 (compulsary at his school)and he recently (now age 19)tested out at an agency at 85wpm!! The written word will always survive, even if the format changes. I love my hardback's, but they are costly and take up a lot of space, I'm kind of resigned to moving over to a Kindle.

  20. I am so pissed!
    I just spent an hour responding to all these comments and mine just vanished... Oh well, I'll be back later to do it over again!

  21. well, I'm the happy owner of a Kindle, and I LOVE that I don't need to keep adding bookshelves to store all the more books I've been reading as a result. I believe less is more, and I want few possessions. My Kindle goes with me everywhere. Barnes and Noble has their Nook, so I guess in some respects they've contributed to the demise of Borders too. I have plenty of heavy books to lug around each time I need to move. I'm getting too old for it. I'm keeping my Kindle thank you very much. old books make me sneeze. achoo :)

  22. IM not sure if the big book stores' difficulties means the end of book stores. The smaller, neighborhood book stores may return, instead. I think the big stores are folding because they are simply too big to maintain, with giant overhead costs. Smaller stores can probably succeed despite the ebook revolution. I like both print books and e books, and I don't think that's too unusual.

  23. I was one of those "dig my heels in - never gonna do the e-book thing" but then it all changed.

    Since getting a Kindle, I LOVE it. I love it because it's fast, it's easy, and it's convenient. No more books to store. (Like Ms. Becky, I'm all about minimizing.) The biggest reason, however? For whatever reason, whenever I hold a book or newspaper, my hands itch like crazy. I had a really bad dermatitis on them for several years. Since using the Kindle (and I'm not sure if that's the only thing, or if something else contributed to it) - my hands are the clearest they've been in nearly 10 years. Oh brother. Now I sound like a freaking commercial.

  24. while I absolutely LOVE my kindle, it broke my heart to see Borders go in my town. B&N is not as friendly a place, IMO, but I have since had to make my way into the store to use up the gift cards my kids get and to look for that book that kindle isn't carrying yet.
    I love to spend time in the book aisles at target, I love the way they feel, I love having a book mark to show how much I have read, but I also love my kindle.

    I am a heavy reader, and I have raised 2 of my 4 kids with the love of the written word as well (I'm still working on the 7 year old). it upsets me that the book stores are disappearing, but I see it as a change of life. I'm not going to fight it ... I;'m not going to boycott ebooks and e-readers because the way I see it, it would be like boycotting the calculator and doing my long division by hand ... and I struggled thru long division with my children - life is easier with a calculator.

  25. I will miss book bargain browsing
    at Borders on a rainy day..

  26. I feel you are right Pat the e books are our future, I have always loved reading and hate to admit that getting a Kindle last Christmas has gotten me back into reading like I did in the past, I am afraid our hard cover books are going the way of the 8 track tapes.

    The Nook is most likely going to be a benefit to keeping Barnes and Noble afloat for a while.

  27. TVA - I totally agree about the price of many Kindle books. It makes no sense that they should cost anywhere near as much as a "real" book.

    Clarissa - I know, but I am happy tro say that my granddaughter reads them as fast as she can get them.

    trav4adventures - I used to say the same thing, but now, I love the feel of my kindle.

    Nat - Maybe a "scratch and sniff" spot on each page would help us out. Get ready for a new experience!

    Nevine - I totally understand, but a lot of folks said the same thing about music stores. I promise, that I used to say the same things. Now, changing pages feels the same with a reader. I hope we always have the option, but I'm not very confident...

    missing moments - I used to do the same things. I hope I'm able to continue to do so.

    Lolamouse - I hear you! I used to say those things about books, but after a year on Kindle, I don't feel that way anymore. All I care about is that people have something to read. But everyone has to admit that books are obscenely overpriced.

    Stephen - I agree, I will miss that if it goes away!

    Morongobill - LOL! that would be kind of hard to do. I think it's already changing big time. Thanks for the no "word verification" comment.

    Brian - Well, I think they did it to themselves by accepting the high sales prices the publishers crammed down their throats.

    Bossy Betty - That sounds like a good idea. Maybe we'll to back to streetside magazine stands.

    Tim - I agree, but it will probably cost quite a bit. Used books stores are closing even faster than the big stores. People can find used books much easier and cheaper on the internet.

    Ren - I didn't either, but then again, I didn't intend to ever download my music.

    Budd - they are in worse shape than the big stores. the internet has caused most to close. Add to that fact, that the publishers won't give their books to all stores.

    tapirgal - I'm also not a fan of big box stores, but a big box store full of books? I'm right there and loving it. I do remember that store. My favorite however, was "Acres of Books" in downtown Long Beach. I LOVED those places, but they also became too expensive. Used books can be picked up for almost nothing on ebay and other auction sites. I love your second comment, that's so funny and so true!

  28. Belle - I wish that was true. For many years the publishers and newspapers have farmed high yield fast growing trees for their printing. So actually, there will be less trees!
    I don't see how they can make a childrens book looks as good on a reader. I hope they survive also.

    Ms. A - I have to agree with you. It's part of our evolution!

    Alex - Me too! I just couldn't afford to buy new books, especially hardbacks.

    Shrinky - I've already conceded to Kindle. I'm sure that we'll now see a war between and the publishers to control the market.

    Ms. Becky - Me too! You are so right, B&N saw the writing on the wall and tried to switch coarse a bit. It's not going to work. As I said, the company is currently for sale.

    Elizabeth - In my opinion. The big stores are going out of business because the publishers WANT them out of business. They planned this whole thing to cut the middle man. With the demise of Borders, they have met 50% of their goal. The small stores are almost already all gone. It's too bad and very sad.

    Marlene - Me too! I also love my Kindle. I have so much more room. I've sold some of my old books on ebay and apparently so is everybody else. THAT is why the used bookstores are going under.

    diane - I agree. there is a Borders very close to my house. I love to hang out there. I love you analogy using the calculator.

    faye - I'm right there with you!

  29. Jimmy - So glad to see you here! I agree, the e-readers make it so much easier and cheaper to read. I'm not sure if the nook will help B&N out that much. The publishers don't need them much anymore and can market directly to the consumer without the middle man with a store. Hope you are doing well...

  30. Well, luckily I downloaded Amazon to my E-Reader, as it only had Barnes & Noble NOOK preinstalled. I have to admit my herniated disc and I have been strolling to the library a lot these days. Something about having a book in ones hands......

  31. I have always been an avid reader surrounded by books. You know, those stacks of books that sit on shelves and gather dust after being read, or waiting to be picked up. Or the ones sitting in a box waiting for me to take them to Good Will.

    Goodness, I just realized that books spend a lot of time waiting!

    I read a book for the story, I really don't care if it has a cover or is on my ereader.

  32. We ARE paying the premium, in so many sad ways. It's not just the demise of a wonderful brick and mortar bookstore, it's also the loss of jobs, for writers, agents, publishers, etc, etc. My grandson-in-law will be out of a job; he works at the Borders in Manassas, Virginia. He has many young friends who also work at Borders. And I think of going into a bookstore and browsing and maybe sitting in a soft chair and glancing through books. And then there's the small "cafe" in the stores, etc. etc. What a loss. It just isn't the same "shopping" for books as you sit in front of a computer screen. It's the loss of community that almost makes me cry.

    Thanks, Pat, for the lovely comment on my blog just now about my memoir. Thank you for reading it. I'll look forward to the Amazon review. Thank you, in advance, for that!!

    I do envy you your wonderful trip to Hawaii. I would love to go to Oahu again. Such a beautiful place, though I think my favorite was Maui. My first husband, children, and I spent 3 days there on our way back to the Mainland from our year in Laie.

    You have such a wonderful collection of photographs to remember the Island Summer of 2011!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  33. You know, I was so wrong about e-books. I was absolutely positive they'd never catch on.

    I don't suppose a Kindle is much worse than a paperback, though.

  34. I'm torn on this one - you see having lost hundreds and hundreds of books in our fire we are now faced with replacing them. That is truly an impossible task and many of them will not be replaced as I currently can't fathom spending the time to find all of the children's books that had been saved (some since my childhood)or tracking down books no longer in print. We are a family of readers so it has been interesting to see the results. We now have three kindles in the family to download those books that we want to own but don't care if we have a physical copy. The books that we want to have in print are being purchased, mostly from amazon as it is far easier to order the mega amounts that we want. We are also shopping the local bookstores (Borders is already gone here).

  35. I have one word on this subject: AMAZON. I buy all my books on line. Although I l browse Half-Priced Books periodically (and not for periodicals).

  36. It's such a shame isn't it. The internet has given us places to hunt for cheap books. I'm not convinced that everyone is using Kindle's etc. I'm not that old but I still prefer books.
    Places like ABE BOOKS are making a lot of money I'm sure.

    They won't die. Though company's will need to change the way they do business.

    Not a good environment for me to be trying to get my novels published. Very depressing.


  37. this makes me sad. it made me sad when the one here closed. but it makes me sadder to think my good old favorite borders stores in tucson,az and traverse city, mi will also be closing this year. i think i need to plan my vacation for a little bit sooner, so i get the chance to say a proper goodbye. man, i hope they still have coffee when i get there.

  38. Like some people who've already commented, I'm sad to see bookstores close. For me, it's not just about reading the material that's in the books (which is why I don't think I could ever do a Kindle), but going to the bookstore, especially on a rainy day, is this whole special experience. In fact, last week Evelyn and I made an afternoon of it - we went to lunch and then we went to Barnes & Noble just to browse and walk around...and I came home with over $80 worth of books that I found just through browsing. I hope that bookstores don't die out completely! :/

  39. Like many others, I'll be sad to lose the bookstore "experience" if all the bricks close. I'm now a little confused about the B&N story. I'm also curious to see more evidence of kids reading less: are the reading less books/mags/newspapers or are they reading less altogether, including online? I still don't have an e-reader, but having just once again packed boxes and boxes of books to move to our new home, I'm tempted to go electronic, especially as I travel a lot... but I'd miss SEEING the books I've read and loved in my bookcase.

  40. It will be a sad day if all book stores close. I love Books A Million. I go through looking for new authors, grab some coffee and have a relaxing time in there.

    I have a kindle and it is great for taking on trips, where you can read several books at one time in a small place but I really want to hold a book. I started a book in 3D and then had to go on a trip so it got loaded on kindle and I finished it while I was gone. But the best thing is the feel of a book. Nothing beats that and I will be sad if books go away.

  41. I hardly ever shopped there, but what's sad is what it represents. I hate knowing the books are going out of style. *sigh* It depresses me and made me wish I could have grown up when there were the little family owned type stores, instead of all these box] stores that are now going out of business because the world is "progressing." Progressing my eye.

  42. My local bookstore, The Book Cellar ( is going strong. In fact, my new home is even closer to it than my old one The big chains grew too fast and weren't flexible enough to make it.

    I've mentioned before that I have a Kindle, but still buy regular books. I have a number of books that will probably never come out as digital books-- history, political science books, etc.

  43. Those of us who want real books are going to have to resort to buying books on line or through book clubs. And if they're being delivered by mail we'll soon not be getting anything on Saturday since that day's mail will soon be cut out and maybe two other days later on as well.

    Books will be less valued by generations to come since they will mostly be digitized. No going to your home bookshelf to thumb through books and reminisce. They'll be stack on ereaders and if those fry then I guess the books we paid for will be gone with them.

    I'm not thrilled about the future prospects, but tomorrow's world will probably be more disposable than ever or we be struggling to survive so much that we won't care about books. That's probably why dystopian literature is so popular--readers are preparing for what's to come.

    Tossing It Out

  44. Its a pity but I guess tech takes the lead now...but I wonder about those poorer kids in developing nations who can only access paper books...if this continues...our part of the world will surely feel the effects of an end of the printed word.

  45. There was a news blip today about the quality of Kindle, etc., and I asked Keith if he was interested...NO was his answer. I would like to give it a try.

    If they stop selling books, will our wall full of First Editions gain value?? :) :)

  46. I purchased a Sony Reader almost 6 years ago to use when I travel. Usually, half my suitcase was filled with books! I found myself licking my finger, getting ready as I was nearing the bottom of the virtual page.... Really, it comes down to the reading, not the physicality of the thing, in my opinion. Still, I revel in the smell of a new book, the notes and doodles in the margins, the underlinings and the telephone numbers and addresses (even directions) written on the fly sheets at the beginning and ending of "real" books. Change is constant.

  47. I don't own a kindle and I am still enjoying the smell of old and new books.

  48. I'm really saddened by all these changes, but they are just getting started. If we could travel through time and jumped 20 years into the future, I bet it would be unrecognizable. But I do hope that future still has print books, bookstores, and libraries.


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