What Will Make Your Patrons Abandon Your Library?


Seth Godin: It's not the rats you need to worry about

"Amazon and the Kindle have killed the bookstore. Why? Because people who buy 100 or 300 books a year are gone forever. The typical American buys just one book a year for pleasure. Those people are meaningless to a bookstore. It's the heavy users that matter, and now officially, as 2009 ends, they have abandoned the bookstore. It's over."

Who are the heavy users in your library? Can you see anything on the horizon that's going to cause your best customers abandon your library?


can you reference the data you reviewed to post the conclusion "it's over." thanks.

"the data you reviewed" You must be new here. This is the internet, there is no data, just opinions!

My husband and I are among those 'heavy users' they're talking about, and we haven't purchased kindles, nooks, or ereaders. I have an ipod touch that I use for some electronic reading (like when I'm awake and he's trying to sleep) but we both prefer the physical books in general. Very few people I know (most of whom are likewise 'heavy users') have ereaders. I'd like to see the numbers, really. The vaunted "Amazon sold more ebooks than physical books on Christmas" means nothing, because duh, who goes out buying books on Christmas generally, and who /doesn't/ want to immediatelyrightnow try out their brand new ereader? That's like saying that beef production might as well stop because more people ate turkey than beef on Thanksgiving.

> Very few people I know (most of whom are likewise 'heavy users') have ereaders.

Very few people I know voted for George Bush but he was president twice. It is not the people that you know that are important it is the actual numbers that are out there.

However, we haven't seen actual numbers on whether heavy users are giving up books entirely for ereaders either, only opinion based on the sales on one extremely skewed day.

i work in an academic library. our major products include information literacy instruction, licensed online content (databases, etc), books, study space, computers and printers, ... too many more to name. It's hard to pinpoint a "heavy user" at an academic library because they're so diverse in their needs. People go to a bookstore (or a bookstore's website) to buy books (or movies, magazines, etc). People come to a library for a lot more than that.

I think libraries are going to be a lot harder to kill. While eBooks may spell the death of bookstores, libraries have been consistently evolving to meet the needs of our rats... er... customers.. er.. patrons.. users? At my library, we've added wireless printing, more power outlets and group study space equiped with smart boards, quiet space with new sound-reducing furniture. We have developed a digital media lab for people with software support needs. Coffee shop and snack machines.

I think we're okay, as long as the rats with the money realize that we offer more than just books.

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