Thoughts from a conversation about ebooks today:

Booksellers refusing to adapt to new technology & look for ways to sell books in a format customers want, instead putting out bitterness & resentment aren't doing themselves any favours.

Change is scary when new technology disrupts established business models but shaming readers for wanting ebooks won't stop it. I just don't want to buy stuff from people who make me feel bad.

If you won't sell me a fucking ebook, plenty of people will.

There are lots of possibilities for small/independent shops to partner w/ second tier online companies like Kobo and integrate electronic sales into their brick & mortar locations to mutual benefit.

Barnes and Noble had really well thought out in-store technology that allowed ebook sales integrated with a physical location. They should have spun it off and licensed the shit out of it; every Starbucks and airplane could've been a Barnes and Noble.

Reality is shopping sucks. Taking the time to go to a special building to buy an object needs to be worth that time either by making it cheaper or by offering something one can't get clicking "add to cart" that makes it worthwhile.

Cheaper is nearly impossible.

Choosing clothing in a store means you can try it on, buying food in the shop means you can choose ripe produce, buying yarn you can feel the texture. Those are incentives.

Bookshops need an incentive beyond "We sell objects!"

Physical bookshops can't compete by being cheaper or more convenient than Amazon or having better selection; they can compete by offering an experience Amazon doesn't, by creating a space people want to visit and spend time.

Very few of the independent bookstores I've been in do this. Most often they're cramped, there's nowhere to sit, and being in them feels awkward and intrusive.

If browsing books in a shop is less pleasant than doing it online, why put on pants?

But!

A bookstore can be the most amazing bookstore in the world, it can do everything right in terms of being a place people *want* to spend time and money, but if they can't or won't sell books in the form readers want to buy, it doesn't matter.

Publishing and bookselling is a weird business; especially the fetish around printed matter, as if every mass market paperback is a sacred object. (While pulping something like 70% of them.)

I think it must be that publishing/bookselling as an industry tends to be technology resistant/illiterate; there's no other reason in an AR era when I can hunt invisible monsters all over the world using my phone, I can't buy an ebook from a bookshop I'm physically standing in.

That's so weird to me.

And it's so weird that booksellers who look at someone reading on a Kindle & resent it don't understand the problem isn't that ebooks exist; it's that they don't sell them.

I love reading and I love ebooks. A good e-ink reader was my flying car. Except we made them! They're real! I have one!

Being able to walk around with a single "book" that can hold more books inside than I can read in a dozen lifetimes is the future I dreamed of as a child. If a genie had popped out of a lamp, I'd have wished for a magic book that could be any and all books.

So I don't understand book people hating on ebooks. They're nigh on motherfucking magic as far as I'm concerned.

@frankiesaxx I enjoy my e-reader, but I still think paper books are the superior technology. They're easier on the eyes and don't need electricity. But I'm not a "real books are better" snob. I don't really understand people who are.

@ink_slinger I find e-ink displays and paper about the same on the eyes. Not needing electricity is an advantage - tho most of the times I'm without electricity, the weight of the paper is also a factor. (Though I'd rather a paperback get ruined than my ereader. ;)

Generally I tend to look at paper like vinyl for music. For certain books or favorite authors it's nice to have a beautiful hardback edition for the shelf. (But I'll probably have it in ebook too for comfort & convenience.)

@frankiesaxx That's a good approach. For a book I'll only read once, but can't find at the library, I'll probably go for the e-book (cheaper and easier to store). If it's something I'll read often, or has lots of visuals, I'll buy a hard copy.

My e-reader is also pretty old. New screens are probably better.

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@ink_slinger New screens are really nice. Yeah I like art books... like Kickstarter edition graphic novels I usually go for a hardcover. (I do read comics on my tablet but some artists I think it's worth it.) Also books by friends, signed copies, etc.

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