Often I am asked the questions: “How do you feel about e-readers?” and “What kind of competition is the Kindle to your teeny, local bookstore?”
I am incredibly annoyed by these questions, namely because the answer is so obvious. I’m not sure why they need to hear it from me. We’ve all witnessed the changes in the music and film industries as the online domain has heavily challenged both mom-and-pop shops and the mega stores alike.
HOWEVER! I believe that there is more hope for little bookstores like mine and all the others across the county than there was for Hastings or Blockbuster. A nice example may be, why is Borders having so much trouble but new independent shops are opening to happy crowds in several places across the country? That is not to say that we aren’t struggling at all as local shops, but many of the numbers seem to be in our favor recently.
For example, a survey published several weeks ago showed that even though e-reader ownership has tripled in the last year there is still hope for us little guys. Half of the population surveyed said that it was unlikely that they would purchase such a gadget, and around 90% of e-reader owners said that they would continue to buy tangible books as well (which I can prove, because I talk to these people fairly often–they still buy gifts!).
The most important statistic published in this survey, though, is that “80.7% of respondents said they were very likely or somewhat likely to buy e-books from independent booksellers if titles are priced competitively.”
WOOOHOOO! Because I have good news folks: that is exactly what is going on in the independent bookstore realm.
Hundreds of stores are already operating through the American Booksellers Association to sell e-books on their websites. Our very own Iconoclast Books in Ketchum (who pays my bills) will soon be operating in this way as well. And who is it that is helping us little guys fight Amazon’s bargain basement prices you may ask? Why, Google of course.
It may seem strange that one of the largest internet corporations in the country is aiding the indie bookstores, but we could not be more grateful.
So, whether you’re an e-reader or just a plain old-fashioned reader like myself, support your local bookstores. They love your community just as much as you do, otherwise they wouldn’t be there, so please help to keep them there!