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Print 15 comment(s) - last by Joz.. on Feb 2 at 12:04 PM

Barnes & Noble is the last large retail bookstore

The traditional print publication business in both magazine and book form is hurting today after decades of dominance. As more and more consumers go to the web for digital publications rather than buying print versions of the same publications, it is becoming a challenge for book publishers to continue to remain profitable.
 
Many traditional publishers point to Amazon and the company's line of Kindle eReaders as one of the main reasons for the decline of the traditional book publishing industry. That same publishing industry is circling around Barnes & Noble even though it is also in the digital book publishing business and offers the Nook e-reader line.
 
As a large bookseller, much of the fate of the traditional publishing industry goes along with the fate of Barnes & Noble and its retail stores. According to the New York Times, when Barnes & Noble originally started working on the Nook e-reader program it had to bring the reader to market in six months from start to finish.
 
The Nook line has started to take some the business away from Amazon’s Kindle eReaders, which is good news for traditional print industry. Part of the reason this is good news is that Barnes & Noble has found how to lure readers that would normally buy digital publications online into the store. Much of the reason these consumers will come to the retail location to buy a digital book is because Barnes & Noble offers free connectivity in the stores.
 
That is a good thing for the traditional book publisher because many of the people that go into the retail locations with their digital devices will browse through print books and often end up buying a book. Yet another reason why traditional publishers want book shoppers to come into retail stores even if they intend by a digital book is that a huge amount sales for publishers are backlist titles, which are older books that may not be available in digital form. By coming into the retail store the shoppers are exposed to more of these older books making up anywhere from 30% to 50% of the average large traditional publisher's book sales.
 
“For all publishers, it’s really important that brick-and-mortar retailers survive,” said David Shanks, the chief executive of the Penguin Group USA. “Not only are they key to keeping our physical book business thriving, there is also the carry-on effect of the display of a book that contributes to selling e-books and audio books. The more visibility a book has, the more inclined a reader is to make a purchase.”
 
In short, as goes the fate of Barnes & Noble, so goes the fate of the traditional publishing industry according to some in the industry. Amazon has gone even further recently. Not only is it taking away sales of traditional print books with the sale of digital titles, but Amazon is also now directly competing with traditional publishers by offering authors direct digital publication of their books. Amazon has already signed some notable authors for its digital direct book-publishing arm including Timothy Ferriss and James Franco.
 
Barnes & Noble is set to try expanding into Europe as well. The company is expected to launch its line of eReaders in Europe and the first store to sell them is expected to be Waterstones in Britain.
 
The New York Times reports that Barnes & Noble is set to release its fifth e-reader device the spring. There are no hard details about the device and we don't know if it's going to be a larger screen e-reader, or perhaps a smaller screen device to target low-end market. 

Source: NYT



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Just bought the iPad
By Amedean on 1/30/2012 12:29:08 PM , Rating: 4
Fewf, a non-Jason Mick actual tech news article....

Yeah, I just bought my iPad a week ago and I absolutely love this thing. My textbooks are tremendously more accessible and functional. As far as I am concerned I wont be buying any more hard cover books ever.

The book store is going the way of the brick-n-mortar music store.




RE: Just bought the iPad
By Joz on 1/30/2012 12:45:06 PM , Rating: 1
I hope not.

I rather enjoy going to B&N/Borders to buy a book every couple of months.

Or just read latest comics since the local gaming/comic stores are just shit.


RE: Just bought the iPad
By Amedean on 1/30/2012 12:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
I do too, but I am honest when I say that it is going the way of the music store because I would just hang around and buy coffee but not any books.

The same was true about the music store, hangin around not buying anything means there is no money. I doubt these stores will stay open for charity or novelty.


RE: Just bought the iPad
By tng on 1/30/2012 1:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would just hang around and buy coffee but not any books.
Yeah, noticed that allot of people do that. B&N wanted to create that "Starbucks" atmosphere in their stores and they have succeeded.

The problem now is that people I see will go in on a night or weekend and sit at one of the many tables and chairs and read a book. Why should you buy it if you can just read it there and return it to the shelf? Far cheaper for them but bad for B&N...


RE: Just bought the iPad
By nafhan on 1/30/2012 1:55:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why should you buy it if you can just read it there and return it to the shelf? Far cheaper for them but bad for B&N.
Except that a latte costs about the same as most magazines and probably has a better profit margin. If those "cheapskates" buy 1 or 2 cups of overpriced coffee, B&N is probably doing OK. Also, I think retailers get some money back from distributors for the stuff that doesn't sell.


RE: Just bought the iPad
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/30/2012 5:31:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I do too, but I am honest when I say that it is going the way of the music store because I would just hang around and buy coffee but not any books.

The same was true about the music store, hangin around not buying anything means there is no money. I doubt these stores will stay open for charity or novelty.

Hi Amedean, noticed we have had some differences of view on the ACTA piece...

That said, I always welcome some different perspective. If you're willing to be civil, I welcome you to shoot me an email so we can chat off-site about future articles.

I appreciate your opinion, even if it may be different than mine. I hope to hear back from you!!


RE: Just bought the iPad
By Joz on 2/2/2012 12:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
If you'll notice, I said that I do buy books there quite often. Not as much as I would like, but for a broke college student...


RE: Just bought the iPad
By Solandri on 1/30/2012 3:34:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah, I just bought my iPad a week ago and I absolutely love this thing. My textbooks are tremendously more accessible and functional. As far as I am concerned I wont be buying any more hard cover books ever.

The funny thing is that Apple negotiated with most of the big publishers to make iPad versions of their publications when it was released, which helped make the iPad the success it is. Apple was willing to implement the draconian DRM the publishers wanted, so they thought they'd found their white night in shining armor in the iPad.

Then Apple started doing unto the publishing industry as the publishing industry does unto authors. Apple demanded a 30% cut of all sales, including recurring subscriptions. (From the numbers I've seen, the publishers typically get about 90% of book sales, with 10% going to authors. Given the pricing of ebooks vs. print books, I suspect even after giving up 30% they'd still be making more money.)

So they went looking for a different white knight. Apparently they now think it's B&N.


RE: Just bought the iPad
By V-Money on 1/30/2012 4:14:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My textbooks are tremendously more accessible and functional. As far as I am concerned I wont be buying any more hard cover books ever.


Have they actually made enough inroads to justify that comment? I only ask because I would love to never buy a textbook for college again, but last time I looked into it I was only able to get 1 out of 4 in ebook format. I know they just started with the high school texts, but I didn't think they had a big enough selection of college texts to even be considered a viable option.


End of paper is a good thing
By Nyu on 1/30/2012 5:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
Traditional publishing is doomed to extinction and should have been a long time ago, there's too many resources wasted on printing vast amounts of books/magazines that never sell and end up standing on a shelf for dozens of years without any practical use (and even if they'd sell, it's still an outrageous waste of resources/workforce/nature that can be avoided with digital media).




RE: End of paper is a good thing
By Trisped on 1/30/2012 6:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the fact you can only store so many books in the typical living space. If you want to read it again, share it with someone, or give it to your kids then you either have to store it, or buy a new copy.

I think the main problem is traditional publishers are the middle man who do not want to be removed.


RE: End of paper is a good thing
By Fritzr on 1/30/2012 10:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
The smart ones are embracing it

Baen has the most customer friendly store I seen so far. They also act as reseller for multiple smaller publishers and Ace (A Penguin imprint) has some titles in the Baen bookstore also.
https://www.baenebooks.com/signin.aspx?returnurl=B...

Penguin Group is online with pricing similar to paperbacks
http://penguingroup.com/ (Select a country, then select ebooks)

The Macmillan Group is online US, UK and Australia. Again this publisher/distributor has titles from their various imprints and other publishers.
http://www.macmillan.com/ (Select US/International, then select a category...you will be directed to the appropriate bookstore.

You don't have to go to Amazon or B&N. Almost all of the publishing houses, big & small will sell direct. Also there are authors who have reclaimed the rights to their published work and are selling them online.

Do a search Google, Bing, Yahoo, Dogpile ... your favorite search engine for category, publisher author, etc. There are many ebooks that you will not find at Amazon, Hastings, B&N or Borders just waiting for you the buyer to actually start looking for books instead of waiting for the vendors to offer a title to you.

My paperbacks take up about 30 cubic feet of space ... the ebook equivalent which I am in the process of acquiring currently fits 450 book in my shirt pocket. For the commute to work & breaks I use an iPod. For travel I use a PRS-600 due to it's much greater battery life. Both are easier to carry than 20 boxes of books weighing around 30kbs apiece :)


RE: End of paper is a good thing
By JediJeb on 1/31/2012 4:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder though what is the difference in pollution and energy consumed along with hazardous materials used when you compare making a paper book versus an iPad? I would imagine that you are not saving as much of the environment as most people think by getting away from paper books. Also have to consider what the end of live for each product involves as far as disposal.


What an eReader can't replace
By JediJeb on 1/31/2012 11:20:17 AM , Rating: 3
One type of physical book that I really enjoy are the photo collection books. Most of these are in a large format usually larger than 12"x12". You just can't enjoy these types of books on a small screen eReader. Even most laptops and desktops would not do them justice. I still have a copy of the Star Wars Storybook which is something like 18"x14" and something I still like to pull out once in a while to look at and now share with my nephew. Putting something like that on a iPhone or iPad sized screen would be horrible.

For some things convenience just does not trump an experience.




By Arsynic on 1/30/2012 2:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
This is sad. Book publishers are still holding on to their antiquated business model of selling a physical book in a physical location instead of embracing the e-reader revolution.

What these dumbasses don't realize is that people don't go to bookstores in droves anymore but alot of them go online. People like me stopped buying books ages ago...until I got a Nook Color. Then I started buying books again because they were so convenient and accessible.

But these guys are run by accountants so all they can think about is protecting their profit margin. Book publishers are now forced to do something they've never done before--innovate. For example a huge revenue killer for them is used book sales. If they distribute these books digitally in a device-specific format, they could eliminate this. Especially if they publish college textbooks. Also, they can eliminate some printing and labor costs by going digital. Short-sighted industries deserve to die.




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