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Old 08-11-2010, 08:50 PM   #1
MsAstoria
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ebook sales compared to vinyl records

Interesting article:
"At the expansive Barnes & Noble store in Manhattan’s Union Square, the changes sweeping the company and the industry are on full display. Shelves have been stripped bare to make room for toys and games, as a sign dangling from the ceiling cheerfully announces.

“I’m in favor of anything that brings traffic in the store,” said Ms. Reidy of Simon & Schuster. “If it’s toys or games that brings a family into the bookstore, then I say fine."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/business/media/12bookstore.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8 .nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fbusiness%2Findex.jsonp

The company is also taking significant steps to capture the digital market. In September, it will begin building 1,000-square-foot boutiques to showcase the Nook in all of its outlets."




so basically this article is about how e-books are literally changing the face of book buying and books are quickly going the way of records as vinyl was replaced by digital downloads.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:11 PM   #2
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I think it that for the present, e-book readers are a geographically dependent item. There are still many countries that have few to none available, including large First World countries. Despite the fact that Sony is a major player in the e-reader marketplace, there are NO e-readers being sold in Japan. While a few folks do read on their cell phones in Japan, the number is very small. Although I travel every day on trains and buses in Kyoto and Osaka, (two of Japan's larger cities) I've NEVER seen anyone using an e-reader. The only people who have ever asked me about my e-reader have been Western tourists visiting Japan.

In many Third World countries that are popular with the backpack tourist trade, one can find used bookstores on just about every block in tourist cities, with prices of just a few cents per book making the economic value of e-books a moot point. These same backpack travelers do not want to have to carry extra electronic gear with them, other than their laptops for e-mail. Perhaps the new iPad with turn a few more of them into e-book users.

CDs and DVDs quickly replaced the vinyl market, replacing even the cassette market too at astonishing speed. I don't think that same speed will be seen in the e-reader market, however I do see an eventual take-over for newspaper and books (other than graphics-dependent media) in the future.

Personally, I haven't bought a paper book in more than a year, but have read roughly 200+ e-books. For me, book stores are places to look at craft books, technical books, and art books. I think paper books are for 'looking at' and e-books are for 'reading.'

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Last edited by Stitchawl; 08-11-2010 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:40 AM   #3
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Wow! The jump from vinyl to digital downloads is quite a leap. What happened to 8-tracks, cassette tapes, and CDs? Btw, I couldn't read the article because the NY Times wants me to register and allow their cookies on my computer, something I am loath to do.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:11 AM   #4
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From nytimes article URL listed above, some interesting points:

More people are ordering books online or plucking them from the best-seller bin at Wal-Mart.

For Barnes & Noble, long the largest and most powerful bookstore chain in the country, the new competition has led to declining profits and store traffic.

For readers, e-books have meant a transformation not just of the reading experience, but of the book-buying tradition of strolling aisles, perusing covers and being able to hold books in their hands. Some worry that large bookstores will go the way of the record stores that shut down when the music business went digital.

William Lynch, the chief executive of Barnes and Noble, said in an interview on Friday that the chain was retooling its stores to build up traffic, add products like educational toys and games, and emphasize its own e-reader, the Nook.

But recently, Barnes & Noble has had to contend with Amazon.com, which has led on e-books and whose vast selection of print books is available online. The release of Apple’s iPad in April only increased interest in e-books.

At the expansive Barnes & Noble store in Manhattan’s Union Square, the changes sweeping the company and the industry are on full display. Shelves have been stripped bare to make room for toys and games, as a sign dangling from the ceiling cheerfully announces.

“I’m in favor of anything that brings traffic in the store,” said Ms. Reidy of Simon & Schuster. “If it’s toys or games that brings a family into the bookstore, then I say fine.”

The company is also taking significant steps to capture the digital market. In September, it will begin building 1,000-square-foot boutiques to showcase the Nook in all of its outlets.

So, what do you think?

Last edited by MsAstoria; 08-12-2010 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:40 AM   #5
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Thank you, MsAstoria. As Mr. Morrow alluded, I have stumbled on books in small, independent bookstores that I never see in the larger chains. One is far more likely to get that personal touch at the small independents than at a big chain and it still means a lot to me. Unfortunately, there are so few of them anymore

I find myself haunting the big chains less in favor of ordering (or even preordering at a discount) recent releases of a favorite author from Amazon (far more convenient). I've always preferred used books over new ones and small, independent, used book stores are more common than independent new book stores in my area.

The article doesn't support the statement that digital downloads killed vinyl records. Digital music (not digital downloads) did, however, in the form of CDs (cassette and 8-track tapes didn't get a chance to do so because of media limitations and they themselves were trumped by CDs). CDs are going to be the next to go the way of vinyl due to vinyl but it won't be all that soon.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:28 PM   #6
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None of my vinyl has been replaced with digital anything, but comic shops have been full of toys for years now so it's no real surprise that they would invade book shops too.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:18 PM   #7
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The article doesn't support the statement that digital downloads killed vinyl records. Digital music (not digital downloads) did, however, in the form of CDs (cassette and 8-track tapes didn't get a chance to do so because of media limitations and they themselves were trumped by CDs). CDs are going to be the next to go the way of vinyl due to vinyl but it won't be all that soon.
Vinyl is alive, and well and sales are actually up. While you may not have the old record stores, you can buy new vinyl at Best Buy, B&N, and other stores online.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:26 PM   #8
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Vinyl is alive, and well and sales are actually up. While you may not have the old record stores, you can buy new vinyl at Best Buy, B&N, and other stores online.
That's nice to hear. One thing over digital, in my opinion, is the awesome cover art! However, digital will probably last longer than vinyl records historically speaking. Certainly, "back in the day"' the album art was just as much as a sell item as the artist was.

Love the Blues Brothers pic btw.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:41 PM   #9
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Vinyl is alive, and well and sales are actually up. While you may not have the old record stores, you can buy new vinyl at Best Buy, B&N, and other stores online.
Are they actually pressing new vinyl or are these older unsold albums?
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:44 PM   #10
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That's nice to hear. One thing over digital, in my opinion, is the awesome cover art! However, digital will probably last longer than vinyl records historically speaking. Certainly, "back in the day"' the album art was just as much as a sell item as the artist was.

Love the Blues Brothers pic btw.
Actually Vinyl is more durable and will last longer (check the estimated life of cd's). I have original vinyl records that are over 60 years old, and yes the cover art is outstanding. The new vinyl records are pressed on higher quality 180 or 200 gram vinyl.

Also that's a photo of the original Blues Brothers vinyl.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:45 PM   #11
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Actually Vinyl is more durable and will last longer (check the estimated life of cd's). I have original vinyl records that are over 60 years old, and yes the cover art is outstanding. The new vinyl records are pressed on higher quality 180 or 200 gram vinyl.

Also that's a photo of the original Blues Brothers vinyl.
Vinyl may last longer than a CD (although I doubt it; it depends how carefully one handles each) but every little scratch and every time it's played will reduce the quality of the recording. A CD, however, will maintain it's quality for much longer (this applies to stamped CDs; burned CDs do deteriorate over time). Merely playing it will not reduce it's quality until it's scratched enough to obstruct the laser beam. Long before that happens, one can easliy digitally copy the contents exactly. Even a new record will have losses when copied since the recording is analog.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:40 PM   #12
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In passing, I'll say that as a former recording engineer any mention of the fact that vinyl has crawled out of its much-deserved crypt sends me reaching for the smelling salts. I'll admit, the cover art rocks and a well-made vinyl record sounds great the first 20 or so times you play it -- assuming you are extremely careful about your turntable and cartridge -- but generally OMG. The problem is that people tend to compare vinyl to the atrocious, compressed-beyond-all-hope digital downloads they get from cyberspace.

Anyway, my question, one that I'm really obsessed with at the moment. Why can't you buy physical manifestations of e-books, as in an e-book on a cheap-as-dirt memory card and packaged in some appealing way? I'm sure the technical issue of preventing re-use, re-sale, etc. etc. -- all the terrible deviant things people are doing to destroy -- utterly destroy! -- the ability of anyone creative to make any money at all -- these issues could surely be dealt with. But you could go into a bookstore, have a look at some real books and a bunch of other stuff you don't need, and then buy an e-book or three right there.

And I say this in response to the "anything that brings traffic into the store" line of inquiry.

Last edited by corona; 08-13-2010 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:47 PM   #13
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Brick and mortar stores are about to be roadkill. Chains are consolidating and closing stores. B&N meanwhile lost 4-5% in same-store sales in 2009, and can't take much more of that.

Selling other stuff (coffee, toys etc) is at best going to prolong the inevitable, at worst damage the brand and confuse the customer. Doing "anything" to get people into a store smacks of desperation, and doesn't always help -- cf Starbucks needing to drop some of the superfluous extras as their core business takes a recessionary and/or over-exposed hit.


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Why can't you buy physical manifestations of e-books, as in an e-book on a cheap-as-dirt memory card and packaged in some appealing way?
Because that results in the worst of both worlds.

One reason why ebooks can be cheaper than paper is precisely because you don't have manufacturing costs, shipping costs, inventory costs, returns or physical losses from theft.

More importantly, you lose the instant gratification, the ability to stock 600,000+ titles that you can access directly on the device, and ubiquity of points-of-sale. With a physical object I have to go to a store to get it; with an ebook, any time I have my reader on, I'm "in the store."

Or, just look at music (again). CD's were precisely that type of object -- a small, light, compact, digital music medium. And at this point, music stores are dead meat. Big chains are gone and independents are struggling; and it's only going to get worse. I wonder why...?
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