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Guest Post: Local Bookstores Suffer the Wrath of Ebooks

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 24-09-2012

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“There is a strong feeling of pessimism amongst people within the book industry. This feeling spans from novelists to publishers, largely down to financial reasons. The worry these individuals have comes from the introduction of the eBook, the digitalised version of the traditional book. The impact of this new form of literary medium is causing massive reverberations throughout the field, and none more so perhaps than that of quaint local bookstores.

There has been plenty of coverage over the closure of independent record stores over the past five years or so, due to the explosions of internet downloads and mp3s. But the troubles local independent bookstores are going through seem to have been neglected somewhat in the media. This may partly be down to the appeal it has to people, as believe it or not, everyone enjoys reading, but to find someone who doesn’t like music of any kind? Impossible, surely.

It is quite a serious issue however, and one that I did not really contemplate until the last local bookstore in my nearby town was forced to close after over a twenty-five year residency there. When interviewed in the local paper the owner of the store explained that he simply could not compete and keep up with the conglomerates, the big chain stores and the influx of online literature, particularly their prices. He did manage to joke however that one the final books he sold was The Great Gatsby, jesting that had he perhaps read it he’d have been able to put up more of a fight into keeping is dream alive.

He had a fair point though concerning the financial competition, as eBooks are almost always sold for a cut price in comparison to physical books, with companion books such as Twilight and Philosophy – Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality available for under half the price of a hard copy. It’s not even unusual now for many eBooks to be made available online for free now, and it makes you wonder, how can anyone really compete with that?

There are not many independent bookstores left in the UK now, but hopefully, if communities band together, more and more can be saved and keep the true essence of the book alive.”

I love the concept of e-readers, and there is no escaping their popularity. But sometimes, for me, nothing beats a real book. I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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