So, like me you’ve got a kindle or some other kind of e-reader. Great isn’t it? I think so, I’ve read more since I’ve had it and it enables me to carry many books rather than one or perhaps two. This suits my reading style, because sometimes I want a change of pace during the day with my book reading, and my kindle means I can cover all eventualities.
But now it means I buy less books from bookshops, I still go in and browse but I don’t buy so much, I now only buy from stores if the books not available on kindle and then if I’m online shopping in the kindle store and a book I want to read isn’t there I might buy online anyway rather than on the high street.
Now what about unintended consequences? I’m one kindle owner amongst many. There have already been reports of kindle book sales exceeding paperback sales for the first time, so what if all kindle owners are no longer buying books from the high street stores. What impact is that having on those bookstores?
It’s not my intention to drive a bookstore out of business by my shopping habits. I love bookshops, but if I still want to visit them, they need to remain viable as a business.
Now the only big high street chain is Waterstones. They are owned by the same group as HMV, the music store and HMV are busy going to the wall as they’re sales drop (reportedly as a result of the rise of digital music and players). If HMV does fold, will Waterstones follow? What will happen to the high street bookstores? More independents? Doesn’t seem like a good business model, does it? Perhaps more coffee shops where you can sit and read your kindle and shop online for more books via the free wi-fi? Finally where does this leave libraries? Particular with public sector cuts too?
I have no answers to my questions, or what if anything I can do about it, but I’m giving it some thought…..
UPDATE: Came across this article in the Guardian, after I had written this post.