Originally Posted by rkomar
For me, the disquieting part is the trend away from browsing in stacks to curated, smaller selections. As Reisman said, the customers are voting with their wallets for that change. I don't blame the merchants for following, but I'm saddened over the streamlining of material. Will publishers be able to continue to publish their wide selections of titles without shelf space for them? Maybe E-books will help in that regard.
But who is really driving that trend? Part of what made switching to ebooks so easy for me was that I was browsing the store shelves and not finding books I wanted to buy. If my book discovery is done through review blogs and recommendations from friends and family instead of from browsing store shelves, and to buy the book I have to order it online instead of being able to pick it up in store, then I might as well get all the convenience of ebooks.
I don't think that browsing in stacks and curated selections are necessarily mutually exclusive. When huge chunks of a given genre's shelf space are given over to small number of book from a few big name authors, it's hard for a heavy reader of that genre to find things to buy. It all comes down to which customers the book stores (and by extension the publishers, too) want to cater to. As far as I'm concerned, they stopped catering to me and other readers like me a long time ago.