I was sitting in my office, drinking a glass of wine or two (a rare occurrence, these days...) and staring at my ceiling fan, and thinking about potentialities and actual use.
I can pull a little chain and that fan will start spinning. Sure, it's winter and why would I do that? But I don't do it through most of the summer, either. And yet, the potentiality is always there, even if I don't use it 99% of the time. It looks good, it could be useful, but really -- does it really replace the air-conditioner?
I'm sitting at my computer, and I use maybe 1% of of it's potentiality -- but that 1% uses an incredible amount of my time.
So -- the Kindle.
I can see myself buying it, but will I use it? Or will I fall back to reading books as usual? Will other people buy it, only to let it sit on the desk? Or will it take off, in a truly useful way?
I read that Amazon will have the actual ability to know how much or how little you actually read of a book you download. Never mind the slightly Big Brother aspects of that notion; but it points to how much we all want to have the capability of things, but don't always actually use them.
The technology for picture phones existed for decades, but no one really wanted them.
I was talking to a librarian yesterday, and I said, "Gosh, no one seems to talk about the impact of e-books on libraries."
"Well, we can loan out an e-book, too. E-books still cost money, you know. "
"And then, when the loan-out period is over, the book simply disappears," chimed in her husband.
"Wow. Is that a good thing? I mean, that means that anyone could do that -- Amazon, the government, ...."
I still swing back and forth on the potentialities of the e-book. Half the time, I think that we bookstores are bemoaning our fate a little too much. Other times, like when I look at what happened to anime and manga in my store (the little darlings are pirating these off the internet to an almost exclusive rate), I think we might be all underestimating it.
In a sense, I've positioned Pegasus Books to be something like a Gift Store. People wander into gift stores and see something they like -- and for that you need tourist traffic, walk-in traffic, and maybe a bit of inventory that draws regulars.
The more "destination" you are, the more I think you'll be hit by 1.) the mass market. 2.) the internet and 3.) e-books. I'd submit that Barnes and Noble and Borders meet these criteria more than your small independent bookstore.
I sold a bunch of books yesterday to people who didn't know the book they bought even existed. "Night of the Living Trekkies." "Dick and Jane and Vampires." "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy." That kind of thing.
I can keep that up all day, because there are no end of quirky books, and there is no substitute for stumbling across them and picking them up and reading a few paragraphs and declaring, "I must have this...."
4 days ago