Monday, 19 October 2009

Is this the end of secondhand bookselling as we know it.

I have been looking at paperless books after reading a post on Thanet Life you can look at the latest in this technology at and I am wondering how long it will be before the supply of recent books dries up.

It really is quite difficult to work out if this is the greatest revolution since printing or just another gimmick that won’t catch on that much.

One thing is certain and that is that the few big retailers that have now got hold of the monopoly of new bookselling want to make sure that they have everything published in electronic form.

Following Google's plan to digitise all books published, which is facing some opposition, Amazon has launched its own program, 'Search Inside The Book' (SITB). Amazon are demanding that for all new books they require a PDF file of the whole text, to allow them to decide which sample pages they will show to the prospective buyer. The PDF file must be with Amazon three months before publication date.

I am wondering if the book publishing world and book authors have cottoned on to the fact that they are going down the road that the music industry started going down with the invent of the tape recorder.

By this I mean once you give the public an electronic copy of something, some bright spark finds a way to share it for nothing and it makes it very difficult to collect royalties.

Anyway I don’t suppose Amazon will ever get the problem I had in the bookshop on Saturday, this was a customer complaining that a book was too cheap. The bloke went pretty much brasic and it was all I could do to keep a straight face.

As I have said before we now have a recession section where all the hardbacks are 10p and all the paperbacks 5p, anyway I have recently expanded this section and put some of it right at the front of the front of the shop.

The paperback in question was therefore 5p, I won’t name and shame here, apparently the bloke in question is the author of the book.


  1. For all the chest beating the Tape, the CD, the VCR and digital media has yet to kill the movie and music industry. However it has allowed a whole new generation of direct to fan sales by artists which cuts out the brow beating middleman.

    Seth Godin the famous marketing man (Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, The Dip, Tribes, Small is the New Big etc, etc) has written extensively on the subject of the music industry and how one could use the changes to prosper. I imagine the same is true of books digital or paper.

    Digital printers and photocopiers have already done exactly the same thing to publishing as have blogs to newspapers.

  2. For what it's worth Michael, I seriously hope there are reading books for many years to come.
    I am all for technology and what it can achieve, but i don't think you can ever replace the indulgence of a good book.
    I am guilty of using the mighty amazon many times this year, for their second hand books, but at a fraction of the price of a new book, it's well worth it and can save a pretty penny in these tough times.

  3. Having been a bookworm for over 70 years I agree that a book in my hand is priceless. Pme bit of techno I won't be embracing.

  4. I really should stop typing in the dark. the word was one.

  5. Not sure I would want to take an electronic reader into the bath with me !

  6. Wont replace the books in my house I love the real thing. Good for a trip to a desert island must remember that when Sue Lawley invites me on her show .


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.