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Old 01-29-2011, 08:20 AM   #1
Whipet
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What will happen to the second hand book stores?

With this year's judging panel of the Man Booker prize being issued with Ebook readers I guess within a few years those wonderful second hand book stores will be gone.
Some of my best reads have been found in them, will it be so? and how long?
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:23 AM   #2
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I suspect a very long time .... there are just too many paper books for them to 'just disappear' (unless global catastrophe means we need them to keep warm)
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Old 01-29-2011, 09:31 AM   #3
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Second hand book shops will outlive new books shops by several decades. Hopefully by then the publishers will have given up on their milk-the-early-adopters pricing strategy and it won't really matter.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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Bookstores will probably end up like record stores are now -- few and far between, but still around in some areas.

However, people still do buy a fair number of CD's, I suspect most of it is online.

I've noticed that most of the used record stores in NYC are still around, though I don't recall seeing any new ones. They'll probably close by attrition in the future.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:17 AM   #5
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CNN recently ran one of their non-scientific polls on ebook reader ownership. About 75-80% of responders did *not* own an ebook reader. We're preaching to the choir here. Real People™ still read paper books. Used bookstores will be around a long time.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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Digital distribution has the power to make books affordable to everyone, even well beyond the cheapest possible means of production and distribution in the physical object world. So their is always the potential that second hand stores would be useless because "new" digital goods could be acquired even by the super poor without problem. Unfortunately, we would need to completely re-prioritize our value systems and I have zero idea how to go about it or if it is even possible although it sounds desirable (but if it overly resembled Communism or Capitalism I would say we are way off!!! But what else is there? I don't know, my imagination is politically weak.).

But seeing this potential realized is probably not within reach currently (or possibly ever, despite Star Trek!). Second hand shops of any sort are practically an indigenous feature of the human landscape (man, I'm talking about that a lot today!). There will ALWAYS be something similar to it, even if it goes away in name.

Of that much, I am confident.

Last edited by Anthem; 01-31-2011 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:33 AM   #7
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CNN recently ran one of their non-scientific polls on ebook reader ownership. About 75-80% of responders did *not* own an ebook reader. We're preaching to the choir here. Real People™ still read paper books. Used bookstores will be around a long time.
Most people don't read, so no need to own an e-reader.

Used-book stores will stay open only if they can make money. That will become harder and harder as more used-book buyers switch to e-books. Many readers don't buy used books, so how quickly they convert to e-reading doesn't affect used-book stores.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:30 PM   #8
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I put this on my local town forum, some replies:

The same thing that happened to film developers.

e-books and busy lives probably compliment each other more so, which is fair do.

Looking for second hand books online means you can have the best of both worlds.

Second hand bookshops don't die. They just migrate to Amazon Marketplace
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:08 PM   #9
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Many used book stores will do just fine. They're just going to go through the same kind of change as the new book market, as their product and clientele moves up-market.

Cheap disposable fiction is likely to be the first thing to go almost entirely electronic. But people who want books for something other than a quick read are going to continue looking for good quality books, new and used. Stores will continue to service both markets.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:24 PM   #10
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Commercial real estate is very expensive. I'm sure there would be more used book stores if the prospective owners could make the numbers work.

Shipping costs can be prohibitive for online stores. $2.98 to ship is discouraging sadly.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:49 PM   #11
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Most people don't read, so no need to own an e-reader.
Sad but true - I have an intelligent relative who is in this camp. A house with no books, I just can't imagine it. Especially as there are 3 children, plenty of gadgets though WII, PSP etc. Maybe I am just old fashioned...
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:15 PM   #12
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This might not be the case in ten years or so, but e-readers are not yet practical enough for young children to use. At the very least, second-hand children's books are still going to be in demand for some time. At least, I sure hope they are.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whipet View Post
With this year's judging panel of the Man Booker prize being issued with Ebook readers I guess within a few years those wonderful second hand book stores will be gone.
Some of my best reads have been found in them, will it be so? and how long?
I think that second-hand book stores will thrive. Especially if ebook technology stabilizes in price (and adds features to justify the pricepoint) and book publishers maintain the currently high prices for ebooks.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:24 PM   #14
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It doesn't really pay to get too attached . . .

to any business or activity built around a technology that has been superceded by technology more appropriate to the times.

We normally assume that means newer technology, but the way things are going, we could be facing an era where older technology may sometimes be more appropriate. So don't get too attached to EITHER eReaders or bookstores, we may find 'reading' knots tied in strands of hemp delivered on the back of a burro in our future.

Stay focused on Watz Hapnin!
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:23 PM   #15
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We normally assume that means newer technology, but the way things are going, we could be facing an era where older technology may sometimes be more appropriate.
Good point!
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