Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Word Of Caution For Booksellers

It has long been said that the book industry should pay close attention to the significant changes and turbulation that has decimated the music industry, lest it fall into the same pits and traps.

Simply, music was digitized and distributed via the internet long before digital books, which have been around a long time, and their "threat" has been looming for well over a decade; today, however, ebooks are finally maturing to a point where their accessibility and consumption is now underway well beyond the outliers who are quick to adopt new technology.

I have thus been paying attention to the music industry, particularly to the physical music retail locations I encounter in my travels, eager to try to learn as much as I can, so as to be prepared for dealing with similar changes that will affect bricks and mortar bookstores.

Yesterday, however, I was shocked when I approached HMV (a popular music retail chain) at Limeridge Mall in Hamilton.

I had to pause at the front entrance and pull out my camera, because I simply could NOT believe my eyes; this bizarre and terrible change was visible even as I approached from well over 150 feet away. But as I neared, it became clearer that I was not seeing things. I could barely contain my horror as I pulled out my phone to snap a quick picture.

Is THIS what booksellers have to look forward to?

OMG, if booksellers aren't careful and don't learn from what happened to the music industry . . .

. . . in the very near future, we might just all be selling BOOKS in our stores.

I sincerely hope we're up to this challenge.

(* Yes, this blog post was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. And yes, I felt I HAD to state this in case anybody reading it thinks I have deluded myself into a state of complacency)

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