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Old 07-06-2010, 12:01 PM   #1
kjk
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Tough times, but some bookstores have a different story

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment...ifferent-story

Quote:
BakkaPhoenix, the country’s oldest science fiction and fantasy bookstore, faces many of the same challenges confronting Toronto’s other independent booksellers.

Chiefly, these include the migration of customers to big-box outlets and online retailers, where discounts abound, as well as what further erosion of business the emerging e-book market will bring.
Quote:
“One of the things we were looking for was space for our community,” says Chris Szego, who has managed the store for the past decade. “We already have had science-fiction book clubs approach us to see if they can hold their meetings there.

“We want to schedule writing an reading workshops. That’s something independent bookstores can be great at. We offer community.”
Smart adaptation to the times-community is still important, whether books are paper or digital. The question is whether virtual community (i.e. Mobileread, etc.) will trump physical community, as virtual bookstores trump physical ones.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:28 PM   #2
luqmaninbmore
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Originally Posted by kjk View Post
The question is whether virtual community (i.e. Mobileread, etc.) will trump physical community, as virtual bookstores trump physical ones.
That would be a sad and pathetic commentary on the future of the human race. I love Mobileread, I like its users. But it is not in the same league as the experience of going down to my favorite local bookstores (Red Emma's in Baltimore and the Book Nook in Glen Burnie) and talking to the locals, engaging in geek fu over hot fresh food, and supporting an economic model I believe in (Red Emma's is a worker-owned collective with no 'boss'). Progress is never simply progress. It has an agenda. I think part of the agenda behind the virtualization of all human experience is to pre-empt any attempt at meaningful organization in the real world (making a FBook fan page is not political activism!). Having read Corey Doctorow's For the Win, I can appreciate how IT can be used to engage in meaningful political activism, but without a face-to-face network of real people experienced AS real people, the bond of solidarity will be to slim to allow any kind of revolutionary project to function. And I think that's the point, to keep us as isolated, cynical consumers instead of multi-faceted human beings possessed of a critical consciousness and powerful sense of solidarity with other people.

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Old 07-08-2010, 09:47 PM   #3
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It was well presented article. I have shopped, or at least browsed, in all of those Toronto stores.

The reality is bookstores need to figure out a new economic paradigm and, as bookstores have slowly evaporated over the past thirty years, very very few seem to have figured out what makes a good long-term business case. One of our iconic booksellers, Albert Britnell at Yonge and Collier, is a Starbucks. One wonders if they'd still be selling books today if they'd started to sell lattes as well as Man Booker winners.

Here's a hint: a Toronto "Antiquarian dealer", David Mason, stated recently: "It's easier to sell a book for $2,000 than $20".

Bookstores need to become literary "destinations" where you can meet authors, find unusual one-offs (signed editions), specialized paper collections, a global community tied to your specialty, and partnerships where that makes sense. But, clearly, the old way of doing business makes no sense.

In the 1930s, you could find a sheet music store in every neighbourhood because every household aspired to owning a piano. Now, not so much. (In fact, try to find sheet music anywhere except the local music conservatory, if you are lucky enough to have one.)

Evolve, or die.

The public did not stop listening to (or making) music. The public will have a thirst and hunger for reading "long form" content in perpetuity. The challenge is to re-tool the business model to meet those needs.

Last edited by SensualPoet; 07-08-2010 at 09:51 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luqmaninbmore View Post
I think part of the agenda behind the virtualization of all human experience is to pre-empt any attempt at meaningful organization in the real world (making a FBook fan page is not political activism!).
But doesn't that make it harder for the black helicopters to round you up?
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