I've been saying for awhile, now, that movies don't really know what's about to hit them. Neither do electronic gaming stores. They think they know, but I don't think they do. I think independent bookstores, battered and bloodied by Amazon and the chains, are probably aware, but in denial.
There's an interesting article on Eurogamer, "Digital Survival" which says in part:
For one industry grouping, however, there's a single question which dwarfs all of those concerns. If you're a retailer, your only real question about digital distribution is straightforward - where the hell does this leave me?
The examples from other industries undergoing this transition are not promising, since they tend largely to focus on metaphors involving creeks and a distinct lack of paddles. Bricks-and-mortar retailers of music and movies have largely sat back and grumbled while their businesses were hijacked, first by online retailers of physical product and then by digital distribution services. Music is much further down this path than movies are, but there's no question that they're both headed for broadly the same destination.
Specialist games retailers who follow that model face little more than a decline into insolvency in their medium-term futures. Worse again, they face competing with far bigger companies to retain their slice of an already shrinking pie - as boxed game retail sales fall off in favour of digital distribution (not to mention the downward price pressures I discussed last week putting the thumbscrews on margins), supermarket chains are increasingly seeing high profile games as a worthwhile loss-leaders.
That's kind of what I've been saying, both that it's coming fast and that there doesn't seem to be much a smaller retailer can do about it...
Word is, these new e-readers aren't great with the graphics, so there is an irony in that comics and graphic novels may endure longer than the prose novel as a viable paper product. Heh. Also, word is, and I've noticed it in my own store, comics have held their own during the Great Recession. No one was really sure at first, and it didn't look promising when I lost some old customers....but they've been replaced, and there have been some terrific storylines, like Blackest Night, which have sparked interest.
Anyway, when it comes to Digital Distribution, I'm going to just try to keep on top of it.
Personally, I'm so used to having market share disappear, that my solution has been to keep adding product lines, each of which is smaller than it used to be, but together is as big as it ever was.
This has worked so far. I suppose as long as I can keep juggling a diverse product line, I might be able to see it through. It helps that I have foot-traffic, for whom everything in the store is 'new' and 'unusual' and who are often willing to buy on impulse.
By the way, I saw a talk on Book T.V. from the author of "CHEAP, the High Cost of Discount Culture" which pretty much has been the way I've been thinking. I am NOT a consumer, and "deals" don't have much effect on me. (Well, I buy "deals" for the store, but that with the idea that it doesn't matter if I like it, only that I think someone else might like it.)
But I see it everyday in the store. The book the customer wants -- which I have new because I rarely see it used -- is put back in favor of a book they want less just because it's cheaper.
What a way to live. Always getting second best because it's cheaper....Then not liking the cheaper thing, and never using it or throwing it into the back of the closet, or worse, buying a storage space for all your 'stuff.' Spending more time and energy to get something cheap than the damn thing is worth; and meanwhile depriving themselves of what they really want; and if they had bought it for full price they would've already forgotten and just remembered whether they liked it or not.
I ordered CHEAP this morning. A hardcover. A retail price of 25.95. So the irony being that probably no one will buy it....
3 days ago