Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nearing Extinction

This is not a post about an endangered biological species. According to an article posted at, record stores, newspapers (at least in paper format), and used bookstores are facing extinction. Remnil at the Ann Arbor District Library blog thinks that the independent bookstore is in more danger than the used bookstore. I've noticed the doors shutting on lots of record stores as MP3s become the medium of choice for music lovers. (Should we even call them record stores? Very few of them have "vinyl" anymore.) I can also see the change in the ways that news is being delivered; however, I have a little bit of hope that small community papers might actually survive. The Sunday paper might survive longer than the weekday paper if they would give it a shot! As far as used bookstores, I see no decrease in their popularity in the Knoxville area. I think some of the smaller ones might not survive, but the larger ones like McKay's in Knoxville seem to still be thriving. Independent bookstores are becoming less plentiful in the days of Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. I think there are some markets where these can still survive with careful marketing and with targeting special audiences. (At least, I hope they will survive.) I will admit that I buy most of my new books online but it's because I'm only aware of two bookstores in Morristown. One of those is small and in the mall way on the other side of town. I don't go to the mall that often. (I much prefer the newer malls that are more like shopping centers where you can go to a single store without having to hope you can find a parking place close to the entrance closest to the store you want to visit and hoping you remembered exactly where the store is.) The other is the Christian bookstore. I do go there some, but they don't sell history books or mysteries (except for a handful of Christian mysteries) which are the two categories of books from which I purchase the most new books. Although I love Borders and Barnes & Noble in Knoxville and Books-A-Million in Sevierville, it's far easier and usually cheaper to just order them online. There are even a couple of independent bookstores I like in Knoxville. I really don't want to see bookstores of any type extinct.

One bright spot from the article . . . telemarketing calls are also on the extinction list!


Moultrie Creek said...

It has always been a consumer driven world, and these days the consumer has some very cool options. You would probably enjoy reading Chris Anderson's The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.

Record stores are going the way of the buggy whip makers. I'm enjoying sites like Amie Street where music tracks start as free downloads and go up in price as they gain fans. Any group can make their music available - without gatekeepers - and users can choose to invest a bit of time and effort trying out the unknowns or take the quick route of spending money on the music others have chosen as quality.

As for books, I still enjoy sitting down with a good novel - the paper kind. Reference books are more useful in a digital format that's easily searched. I still love my local Barnes & Noble - as a hangout and as a bookstore - and my local library. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Lori Thornton said...

I read The Long Tail back in the summer. I just wish that I'd coined that term. Then I could be making the $$$$ from it. (grin)