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How Long Will Printed Books Be Available?

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#26 okieav8r

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:58 AM

Borders Bookstore was owned by Waldenbooks.

#27 blb

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

Borders Bookstore was owned by Waldenbooks.


And they are both gone now and I miss them. What few small bookstores are left, not having been run out of business by the big box book stores, do not cary a good selection of books either. Even Barnes and Noble does not have the selection it used to without the competion from Borders. It is a sad day for me because all I have left is Amazon. I just can not look at a book on Amazon. I know they have the look inside feature, but it is not the same as looking through a book. I need books because I will never go completly digital where you have to update every six months or less.

#28 blb

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:28 AM

...I lament the passing of local bookstores, but not book supermarkets.

But they drove out of business many of the mom and pop, localy owned, book stores. So now with there passing, unless you live in Boston or some other large metropolis, your out of luck if you wont to pick up a book and look at it.

#29 George N

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:13 PM

I think there will always be paper books, just like you can buy a musket or a crossbow or a fire starting kit. However, the price will be very high. The largest paper manufacturer in the USA just went bankrupt, and many of the others are in trouble. The process is environmentally disruptive and faces more and more regulation, not to mention objections to cutting down more forests. The cost of distribution is also climbing. There are just too many middlemen involved in the physical manufacture and distribution of paper books.

Even in my small town, and certainly large USA cities, there is almost no one in the library reading rooms or checking out books. Everyone is on the computers. My library has cut way back on the new books purchased. Plus, even in my little town, there’s free WiFi everywhere. Many in library science are realizing that they will have to radically change, or see no customers. Just today I saw a report on CNN about a new venture that will install vending machines with iPads you rent out by the hour….. free in libraries. When you insert the iPad back in the vending machine it wipes out everything you did and re-sets it for the next customer. It will be coming to an airport near you!

There is a lot of discussion of “the graying of the print industry” as books and magazines appeal to fewer young people. Remember, today even 2 and 3 year olds know how to use an iPad. For many it's their favorite toy! This year South Korea has declared “paper is obsolete” in schools. No more books, paper, pens, for kids from kindergarten thru grad school! They are all issued a tablet with all text books, tests, homework, etc on them. The “books” are supplemented with video lectures and demos, and can be updated quickly. No more reading about the Inchon landings for Korean kids: they can watch a 2 minute video and then play with an interactive map. The kids smart-phones will have math drills that they need to complete on the way to school! Many schools in the USA are moving in the same direction, and also not even teaching cursive handwriting any more. We are probably the last generation who will even know how to hand-write a note to grandma.

#30 mich_al

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:48 PM

Agree. Electronic format standard changes over time; often making them obsolete in the long term. And books will outlast a CME or EMP.


Changeing standards is a real concern of mine. I've got lots of music (and soon to be video) that I have no way to 'play'.

#31 mich_al

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

My favorite brick and mortar bookstore "Borders" went out of business ...


It's their own fault. Borders was a magnificent local bookstore in Ann Arbor that got delusions of grandeur and went national. I lament the passing of local bookstores, but not book supermarkets.


Tony
I was just thinking of the original Borders on State Street in AA just a few hundred yards from the U of M diag. Amazing world class bookstore. I spent many hours there browsing, creaky floors and hidded niches. Once stumble on a book concerning the engineering principles of urinals. Was only in the new AA store a block south a couple of times.

#32 GeneT

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:10 PM

Print on demand will eventually be more common, and the local bookstore of the future might have a print on demand machine at its location.



If this becomes the future, it just won't be the same. I don't want to print off a book with my home computer's printer. I call up my bookstore, and they print it off for me? Probably this model will mean that a few companies like Amazon will corner all the book printing business. I wonder what that will mean to specialty books such as on astronomy that we all enjoy? I don't know how this will all shake out, but in my opinion, it doesn't look good.

#33 City Kid

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

Gene, I hope you're wrong about the demise of printed reading material but I think you're probably right. However I don't think printed material will go away in my lifetime so I will continue to enjoy kicking back in comfort while I hold real books and magazines in my hands just like we're supposed to do!

Phil

#34 helpwanted

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:04 PM

I don't think book stores, such as Borders, went out of business because of digital media. I feel they put themselves out of business by turning themselves into libraries. They had plush comfy chairs, free wifi, and you could get a coffee and snack... And no one cared if you say there and read a book off the shelf. There was no longer a need to buy the book!

#35 desertstars

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:14 PM

I don't think book stores, such as Borders, went out of business because of digital media. I feel they put themselves out of business by turning themselves into libraries. They had plush comfy chairs, free wifi, and you could get a coffee and snack... And no one cared if you say there and read a book off the shelf. There was no longer a need to buy the book!


Not sure how much that aspect actually hurt them, but they were definitely their own worst enemy, with a history of really dumb decisions. It was a shame to see them fold, but no one who was paying attention was especially surprised.

#36 faackanders2

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:40 PM

I think there will always be paper books, just like you can buy a musket or a crossbow or a fire starting kit. However, the price will be very high. The largest paper manufacturer in the USA just went bankrupt, and many of the others are in trouble. The process is environmentally disruptive and faces more and more regulation, not to mention objections to cutting down more forests. The cost of distribution is also climbing. There are just too many middlemen involved in the physical manufacture and distribution of paper books.

Even in my small town, and certainly large USA cities, there is almost no one in the library reading rooms or checking out books. Everyone is on the computers. My library has cut way back on the new books purchased. Plus, even in my little town, there’s free WiFi everywhere. Many in library science are realizing that they will have to radically change, or see no customers. Just today I saw a report on CNN about a new venture that will install vending machines with iPads you rent out by the hour….. free in libraries. When you insert the iPad back in the vending machine it wipes out everything you did and re-sets it for the next customer. It will be coming to an airport near you!

There is a lot of discussion of “the graying of the print industry” as books and magazines appeal to fewer young people. Remember, today even 2 and 3 year olds know how to use an iPad. For many it's their favorite toy! This year South Korea has declared “paper is obsolete” in schools. No more books, paper, pens, for kids from kindergarten thru grad school! They are all issued a tablet with all text books, tests, homework, etc on them. The “books” are supplemented with video lectures and demos, and can be updated quickly. No more reading about the Inchon landings for Korean kids: they can watch a 2 minute video and then play with an interactive map. The kids smart-phones will have math drills that they need to complete on the way to school! Many schools in the USA are moving in the same direction, and also not even teaching cursive handwriting any more. We are probably the last generation who will even know how to hand-write a note to grandma.


My kids were in the elementary school laptop program, and they all broketheir computers several times (only the 1st was covered by warranty), and often it took a long time to repair. Conclusion elementary school kids are too young. I believe they would be responsible at high school level.

#37 faackanders2

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

I don't think book stores, such as Borders, went out of business because of digital media. I feel they put themselves out of business by turning themselves into libraries. They had plush comfy chairs, free wifi, and you could get a coffee and snack... And no one cared if you say there and read a book off the shelf. There was no longer a need to buy the book!


And what is wrong with excellent customer service? They filled a niche.

#38 helpwanted

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:23 PM

"And what is wrong with excellent customer service? They filled a niche. "

but they made no money doing it!

#39 operascope

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:39 AM

Online sales and ebooks are the cause of the demise of both the small independent book stores, as well the big box stores. Sales of books in "bricks and mortar" establishments have eroded over the last several years by about 10% year over year.
The challenges they were facing were things that could be seen coming long before. There are/were ways to meet the challenges, such as diversifying (sell more than just books), and investing earlier and better in their online sales departments. They didn't make the changes early enough or well enough, and now they are paying the price.

My concern for the future of paper books isn't at the retail level. Instead, I fear that the publishers won't be able to make ends meet in today's marketplace. Just imagine the impact that would have.

Of course, there will still be speciality publishers like William Bell, and perhaps they will expand to fill the need.

#40 Tony Flanders

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:51 AM

I don't think book stores, such as Borders, went out of business because of digital media. I feel they put themselves out of business by turning themselves into libraries. They had plush comfy chairs, free wifi, and you could get a coffee and snack... And no one cared if you say there and read a book off the shelf. There was no longer a need to buy the book!


Book stores started to be put out of business by Amazon long before digital media made a dent in their market. The coffee shops are shrewd marketing, a way of distinguishing themselves from Amazon, providing a service that can't be replicated online.

In my town (Cambridge, MA) numerous bookstores with coffee shops are thriving, both big ones and small ones. Remeber, coffee is a high-margin business! Of course, this is a college town ... that helps.

In addition to providing books cheaper than any brick-and-mortar store can, Amazon has the huge advantage of being able to stock a wider selection, beating the great large bookstores like Ann Arbor's Borders or Cambridge's Coop at their own game.

I make a point of supporting my own local bookstores whenever possible; I'm willing to pay a premium to buy from a local, independently owned store. But sometimes, when I need a book in a hurry and they don't have it in stock, I have no choice but to buy from Amazon.

#41 operascope

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:02 AM

Very good points, Tony. As well, many smaller stores are also fighting the online sales by live events at the stores, everything from author readings and signings to speed dating and wine tasting. The most successful stores today have become more than just places to store books for customers to buy.

#42 hm insulators

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

Printed books will always be available. Bottom line: they don't need batteries, power cords, or sunlight recharging. And, I can continue to read while the plane is taking off or landing.

Cheers,

Jerry

G.O.Dobek, FRAS


And when you need to "do your thing," it's easier to carry a book into the bathroom instead of a computer.

#43 JayinUT

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

I disagree that printed books will stick around. First, it seems that most who have posted are like me, past 40 to 50 and beyond. The upcoming generation is a tech generation and they go for what they are use to and that is going to be books available online. School books over the next 20 years will move from hard bound books to books online. All of my teacher manuals are online copies right now. As a new generation migrates off of standard books, books are going to evolve and that new generation will be more comfortable with a digital version than with a hard bound book. It's easier to use a tablet to access a book or information than to lug around several textbooks in a backpack or from the library or from a bookstore. For that matter I believe you can see magazines moving to an online format. Look at S&T with their digital format. I have found I much prefer the digital format. For that matter if I could pay a fee by article to download past Sue French Deep Sky articles I want or don't have. Anyway, though not a perfect format right now, in 20 years paper books and magazines will have evolved. Watch for the first digital tablet astronomy magazine to come online when someone young in the hobby catches the vision. I love books, I own many, many books, several thousand but the day of the traditional book's is heading toward a sunset. Soon collectors and enthusiasts will be those who own and pursue books.

#44 helpwanted

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

if I could pay a fee by article to download past Sue French Deep Sky articles I want



Just buy her two books, Celestial Sampler & Deep Sky Wonders, they are both copies of past columns.

#45 LivingNDixie

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:58 PM

I disagree that printed books will stick around. First, it seems that most who have posted are like me, past 40 to 50 and beyond. The upcoming generation is a tech generation and they go for what they are use to and that is going to be books available online. School books over the next 20 years will move from hard bound books to books online. All of my teacher manuals are online copies right now. As a new generation migrates off of standard books, books are going to evolve and that new generation will be more comfortable with a digital version than with a hard bound book. It's easier to use a tablet to access a book or information than to lug around several textbooks in a backpack or from the library or from a bookstore. For that matter I believe you can see magazines moving to an online format. Look at S&T with their digital format. I have found I much prefer the digital format. For that matter if I could pay a fee by article to download past Sue French Deep Sky articles I want or don't have. Anyway, though not a perfect format right now, in 20 years paper books and magazines will have evolved. Watch for the first digital tablet astronomy magazine to come online when someone young in the hobby catches the vision. I love books, I own many, many books, several thousand but the day of the traditional book's is heading toward a sunset. Soon collectors and enthusiasts will be those who own and pursue books.


A fully dedicated astronomy magazine available only online. Very interesting. However most people think that anything on the Internet should be free. That could be what hurts it.

#46 CounterWeight

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:43 AM

I think it a mistake to assume everyone can afford a computer, connection, printer, etablets and smart phones - c'mon folks... but a bigger mistake in concept to think that all books lend themselvs 'well' to the digital format.

Counter example... my daughter and her friends spend very little time at all on the web and are avid readers of printed books.

I remember hearing this question 15 or so years ago at a party of tech folks, I remeber laughing then, and I still am. Thinking that somehow folks will read books if they are on a 'gadget', I disagree. The sad fact IMO is that too many adults I know are not avid readers, and many don't many books at all. Take away printed books and put everything digital and require the attending gadgets and we'll have an even more ignorant population... that is my prediction. I feel that is not only something to worry about but to work to abate.

There are places where I feel digital makes itself necessary and important and books maybe a good example? It's very unclear to me just who is saving what or benefitting how that something be 'online only' in terms of books. Having it as an option might be good in ways, but 'only' is not an option. Local printing and binding not inexpensive at all if I want something that will be of quality construction and hold up over the years.

Since the invention of the printing press books have done their job nicely. There isn't anything to 'fix' in what a book is. I feel the demise of the brick and mortar stores more a comment on how many do not read books and instead watch the TV or play computer games (many of which are unfortunatly extremely violent and not educational in any way) or watch movies on either. At our local libraries folks are not reading books on computers, they are doing research or browsing and emailing. I'm frustrated that they must spend some of the money on computers instead of their collections, but I do agree it does help those that cannot afford a computer and libraries are a community sevice.

The disappearance of brick and mortar bookstores is more to do with our unending need for convenience, something for nothing mentality, and the unending want / need for 'more' for our own efforts... until it's our job is on the block. It's not just books that have suffered. There is good and bad in the digital revolution.

[qoute]Soon collectors and enthusiasts will be those who own and pursue books.
[/quote]

I think this is and has always been the case. For others it might be wines, or eyepieces or ... and possibly in same way it's not so much what they are but what they can provide outside the delivery medium.

We have several brick and mortar bookstores with walking distance of my home. I often compare the difference in price between them and 'the web' and in reality, including shipping... and cost of a computer, and web connection I save nothing buying over the web. Even it is one or a few dollars more I'll buy the local copy to support the local brick and mortar economy.

Interesting times to be sure. I walk into a store and buy something with $50- bill and I get looked at and so does the $... use plastic and they don't even blink. This is happening on our watch folks. I'm not drinking that kool-aid.

It takes planning and effort to physically go to a bookstore and buy with cash, can't do it at 2am when I can't sleep and difficult to be impulsive or whimsical with discretionary funds that way. If no bookstore... that IMO is a problem ;)

A good topic to revisit in another 15 years?

#47 okieav8r

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:01 AM

Speaking for myself, the older I get, the less tech literate I seem to be. I used to be up on it, but now, not so much. Long live books!

#48 PhilCo126

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

Surely for a very long time as there'll always be a demand for printed (school/university) books...
The digital age will be a period during which mankind lost most of its data (there's more around and not all of it is taken in backup as it should be). Moreover current formats might be unreadable by the next decade...

#49 Tony Flanders

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:15 PM

Surely for a very long time as there'll always be a demand for printed (school/university) books...


It's rash to use the word "surely" when speaking of the future. It's easy to think of technologies that have been wiped out virtually overnight, like phonograph records. And the technology that destroyed them is itself critically endangered.

On the other hand, it's easy to think of technologies that weren't wiped out. Radio took on a smaller role when TV was introduced, but it's still going strong. Bicycles have, if anything, increased in importance.

My hunch is that books are going to be one of the survivors. I would be very surprised if they stopped being printed in large quantities while any of the people reading this is still alive. But I have been surprised before.

#50 Tony Flanders

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:16 PM

And when you need to "do your thing," it's easier to carry a book into the bathroom instead of a computer.


Hmm, this opens whole new horizons. Should we be rating laptops on absorbency?






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