The book business is dead. Or not

A Globe and Mail article by James Adams documents some discussions around BookExpo, Canada's annual four-day celebration of books, that starts this Friday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

What I found interesting is that some authors have this same feeling of panic that the recording and motion picture industry have about the Internet harming their businesses, even though there is even less evidence of any problem. While some incumbent methods of production, distribution and funding may give way to innovative alternatives, and this might harm the business interests of intermediaries dependant on the old way of doing things, there is little evidence that any of these industries have reason to be fearful.

Book authors may suffer from the diminished effect of the "star system" that was common in the past where a few very high profile creators in a type of creativity enjoyed huge monetary success, while all other competing authors were pushed out of the marketplace. I believe that new communications media allows these industries to benefit from the long tail, allows books to never go "out of print", and makes the marketplace for ideas much more competitive which is better for the industry as a whole.

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book sales

I for one, not only buy more physical books since the Internet showed up, but I also actually want to read more. At present, no technology has replaced the paperback, and none has even come close to being useable in both the washroom, bedroom and bus.

Unfortunately, I can see how local book shops can go out of business: I just don't have time to visit them, and once there, find that I can't get what I want, or they have so many used books, that I can't search for what I want very well.

I buy lots of things from amazon.ca. I would buy from chapters, but frankly, they don't do as good a job.