Thursday, January 10, 2013

The sanctity of media

(Please, don't go.)
Something that caught my eye this week while bouncing around the Internet in my spare moments.

In a post on the Melville House blog, Dennis Johnson explains why indie authors and small presses shouldn't be celebrating what looks like the slow demise of  Barnes and Noble. Honestly, I can't say the demise is surprising. Media isn't sacred. It never has been. I saw it from the inside as I watched newspapers change and evolve.

It's the telling of the story that's important. The media the story is told on, not so much. So we can want things to stay the same, but that won't make it happen. In college I worked on the newspaper staff full time and in the summers and over holidays I sold CDs at a couple of different Blockbuster music stores. Today, both newspapers and record stores are either dying or dead. And if you'd have told me back then that's what was going to happen I'd have said you were crazy. But that's exactly what happened. But people still consume information, they just get it from a different place now. And they still buy music, new and old, they just buy it from a different place.

Johnson makes a good point about why we need bookstores. This chunk struck me.

Surveys say “showrooming” — seeing a thing before buying it — is an integral part of buying books online. One survey I wrote about a year ago posited that 40% of the people who buy books online looked at them in a bookstore first.


A New York Times report by David Streitfeld two weeks ago took the notion a step further. Noting that “the triumph of e-books over their physical brethren is not happening quite as fast as forecast,” Streitfeld floated the idea that this may be due to the “counterintuitive possibility … that the 2011 demise of Borders, the second-biggest chain, dealt a surprising blow to the e-book industry. Readers could no longer see what they wanted to go home and order.”

The idea of there being no more Barnes and Noble saddens me. When I was single and working nights, I was in a Barnes and Noble that looked a lot like the one above four or five times a week.  I bought something almost every time I was there. I loved it. Of course, this was before Kindles and Nooks and before the rise of Amazon. Now, I go to a Barnes and Noble a couple times a year. And I love books. So, if you are looking for someone to blame for the demise feel free to point a finger at me.

Productivity Update
Roughly 1,500 words. That's what I wrote this week. It's about 500 off the pace I want to keep, which is a just under 2,000 words a week. A good day this weekend and I'll be able to make that up. In a previous post I mentioned starting up a word count tracker int eh right column over there. I still might, but I think for now I'll just tack this little bit onto the end of the Friday post.

That's it from me. Have a great weekend, folks. And come back on Monday. We're talking notebooks. It's very exciting.

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