Disruptive technology, they call it. Think about the monks in the days of yore, scribing out religious texts using a quill and a bit of ink. Mass production of books meant 5 monks in the same room! Then along comes this Gutenberg guy with his printing press and the world changes forever. What would the monks do; their secular purpose in life usurped by wooden plates and gears slapping together, producing a days’ work in seconds?
Technology that changes a fundamental paradigm – disruptive.
So I normally would be posting a short story today, but I have been taking a grad seminar in information systems and their strategic affect in business. Half a Friday and all Saturday and Sunday. Instead of writing, I have been studying the Borders Bookstore fiasco. Which brings me to tonight’s topic:
Paper book sales are on a four year slide downward and ebook sales are skyrocketing upward thanks to the Kindle, Nook and iPad. What does this do for literary agents, publishers, bookstores and libraries?
I’ll post my study later, but you will see that agents are starting their own e-publishing sites, publishers are starting their own e-imprints (i.e. Carina Press) and bookstores have boosted their own e-book business thanks to their proprietary e-readers and the iPad which has an app to read everything under the sun.
Libraries? I didn’t get to do much research on that subject since they were not in the parameters of my paper, but suffice to say, if libraries are not thinking of how to integrate e-readers into the library experience, they will end up feeling like the monks of old when ol’ Gutenberg showed up.
No, I am not against the paper book; I prefer them, actually. Nor do I think that paper books will disappear like 8-track tapes. But the numbers are the numbers. If libraries ignore the eReader paradigm shift, they does so at their budgetary peril – heck, look at the dire straits in England.
What is your opinion? What should libraries do? I know some librarians that would love your ideas! I’ll pass them along post haste, hubba hubba honcho!
As for the monks? Well, at least they still made wine…