Sunday, October 5, 2014

Quit trying to take away our bookstores and real books!! Just stop it!


Original post was written for the Venture Gallery blog

on October 2, 2014


Do you prefer paper books, eBooks or audiobooks?

It’s not a theoretical debate.

The digital revolution has changed all sorts of things about the book business.

Ebooks are here to stay.

Audiobooks are on the rise.

But the demise of paper books has not occurred, as some predicted.

Independent book stores, not so long ago believed by many to be on the way out, are on the resurgence.

So the book world now is schizophrenic.

Readers read books on their smart phones, listen to audiobooks on their phones or tablets while they commute or take trips, and purchase paper books.

I’ll use myself as an example.

I buy several eBooks per month straight off my Kindle.  I buy an audiobook or two each month and download it on the Audible app on my phone.  I listen to it on head phones connected to my phone. I buy paper books of a few of my favorite authors when new releases come out.  For instance, I always pre-order the next James Lee Burke book.  I also buy paper copies of classic or hard to find books. I am more likely to purchase a paper book in an independent bookstore, although we don’t have many such stores in my neck of the woods.

I don’t know whether my book buying habits are representative of  book buyers in general.  My thought is that there are a number of factors that come into play in the equation.  Some of those are the proximity of a brick and mortar bookstore, the age of the buyer and the genres of interest to her.

I think we are beginning to see a backlash against the ubiquity of the Internet.

The Internet is great for many things, but it can’t replace the smell of a bookstore or the personal interaction a book buyer can have with knowledgeable bookstore proprietors who can point her in the right direction.  Neither can a reader shake hands with an author at Amazon.

So, I’m curious.

Do you prefer paper books, eBooks or audiobooks, and where do you like to buy them?

When I read Stephen’s blog, I just had to share it with you. I guess the fact that I had received my son’s Christmas list early (as he’s heading out of the country until Dec 21st) might have something to do with it. You see… his list consisted of three, hard-to-find, hardcover books from Amazon.

Then last night, my mother called and asked me to send her two paperback copies of my own book Special Agent Francesca because she wanted them for Christmas gifts. (What is it with this Christmas stuff??? Sheesh – it’s only October.)

But…I digress! The point here is that many folks still enjoy holding that physical book in their hands and then displaying it on their bookshelves.

My personal theory - we might be able to alter the old systems with progress but we’ll never change human nature.




  1. I'm a fan of e-books (for the cost and convenience and a lover of printed books, especially for the convenience--an e-reader doesn't work well at the beach because the screen gets filmy and it's either too bright or too dark, and even non-glare screens reflect light. Also, a hardcopy doesn't need electricity or batteries to read it. I like audio books on long trips--so count me in for a little bit of everything.

    1. You know, I've never tried an udio book -but I will for sure now that I see how popular they are. Thanks Carole

  2. I like both and I really don't see why you can't have both complete with physical bookstores. I've listened to a couple of audio books but they're not a big thing for me.

    1. You know Pat, I think that's what's probably going to happen in the near future anyway. We will continue to have local bookstores and as long as we support them, they'll stick around.

  3. I'll put it this way. I lived in the country as a child, in the suburbs as a teenager, and now live just outside of downtown in a high-density residential area.

    I love where I am, I would consider moving back to the country under the right circumstances, but I could never live in the burbs again. The burbs have all the car-centrism and long distances of the country, but all the endless buildings of a poorly-planned city.

    In the same way, I love the portability of ebooks, and the variety. I love my local indie bookstores. But what I detest are the big-box stores. They have the lack of personality of any big-box store, but also the lack of selection of a poorly-run small shop. Actually, I find the indie shops tend to be better curated -- and happier to take special orders.

    1. Hi Katherine, I live in a small village kind of a town where we have everything we need to make life work without all the glitz and glamor... and problems of a big city. We also have a local book store that caters to it's customers in a way you wouldn't find in one of the big centers. You mentioned the Indie shops - gosh I would love to be able to visit an Indie bookstore...? Next trip to Phoenix I'm going to search one out :-)