Booksellers Discuss the Value of E-books and Print Books
From Shelf-Awareness, a discussion of e-books and print books from booksellers.
From Rachel Whang of Atomic Books, Baltimore, MD: I don't understand why anyone would go to a bookstore to download e-books, as some have proposed. Do people go to record stores to download music? No. People don't go to places to download anything. That's why they like it. And that's why music-selling stores are going away.
From Jodi Kaplan who runs Squidoo lens: For print and bookstores to survive, they have to add value. Bring authors in, host book groups, have authors blog on their sites (or connect to the authors' blogs). Send e-mails to loyal customers informing them of new books they might like to read. Invite people into the store to form connections with the store, the authors and other readers.
Michael Herrmann of Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, NH: As not only a bookseller but a booklover, I can see why e-books would be priced lower than real books. Not only do you not have printing, storing and distribution costs at the producer's end, but you also do not have a permanent artifact at the consumer's end. That is to say, e-books are not collectible. They are ephemeral. There is no guarantee that they will be readable or retrievable in two, 10, 50 years. They have less value than a real book. So perhaps they should cost less.
On the issue of Amazon dictating price, Amazon is not releasing sales figures for the Kindle or for downloads. They are bullying suppliers into accepting ridiculously low prices in the name of a consumer demand that they are trying to invent out of the whole cloth. It is more of a religious phenomenon than a business discussion.