Like You and Me, an eBook Can Also Have a Sudden Demise

death of a borders ebook

Borders has closed.  This is a shame and a travesty.  In an era when there is more being published and more of the population is literate than ever before, why is a bookstore closing?  One issue that has risen out of this is something that I alluded to in an earlier article on eBooks.  Namely: what happens to your content when the content provider closes up shop?  Thankfully, in this case, Borders had been transitioning its eBook clients from their servers to Kobos, so they weren’t left high and dry with no access to their purchases.  Will all eBook providers be this kind when they, as with the vast majority of businesses, either close up shop or give up on one technology and move to a new one?

Several events in recent years, some directly related to eBooks, others only tangentially related via technology, have made me wary of relying on a third party to give me ongoing access to material I have paid for.  One is, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, the time that Amazon reached into the Kindle accounts of any North American user who had purchased a copy of (ironically) 1984 by George Orwell and plucked it out of their account.  They did this because it turned out they did not have permission to be selling this particular edition as an eBook.  This draconian measure only serves to highlight the impermanent and transitional state of the eBook, of digital files in generally, really.

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eBooks Are Big, but Printed Books Are Still Bigger

It’s not all doom and gloom for bookstores despite the news I woke up to Friday morning. I was awoken by CBC’s morning radio show host interviewing one of the co-owners of Flying Dragon Bookstore, an award-winning bookstore in Toronto, Canada. Saturday May 14, 2011 the Canadian Booksellers Association had named them Specialty Bookseller of … Read more

How my Bookshop Plans to Survive e-Books

E-books scare me.

electronic readers comparedI have shot upright out of a dead sleep no less than two times, bathed in a light sweat with the thought, “E-books are going to ruin me!” running through my head. I’ve heard the rumblings of e-books, news of hipsters riding the subway in New York all reading their kindles, but until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t actually seen the beasts in person myself and consequently, started having nightmares. It’s all just a concept until you call a customer about a request and hear, “Actually, I have an e-book now, so you can delete all my requests,” or see a 45 year old woman in a tea shop in my small town reading The Grapes of Wrath on her kindle while eating a chocolate chip cookie. Part of me wants to sidle up to her and ask how it feels to be dancing with the devil, and know that there is the danger of becoming (even more) cynical about kindles and the like if I’m not careful. I care deeply about my 14 staff members, the legacy that my father started with this bookstore 20 years ago, and my investment of time and life energy, and I will not go down without a fight! In fact, I intend to not go down at all.

I’ve tried in vain to carry kobo, to have e-books in our store in general, but to date there is no licensing for small independent Canadian booksellers to sell e-books themselves

  • they’re only too happy to have me refer customers for a piddly percentage, but I have to admit I’m not really into that idea. I’ve spent hours researching, calling, and getting rather frustrated, enjoying some comic relief watching 10 Rounds of Books vs Kindle with Green Apple books with Round 10 being my particular favourite:

Funny videos and stories of nightmares aside, the truth is that the cold reality of e-books is here. I’ve decided that instead of join ‘em, I’m going to do by best to beat ‘em. I have never given in easily to the status quo – pictures of me and my shaved head at environmental protests when I’m 15 could prove that in a heartbeat, so why start now?

How will we do this, in our small town bookstores? I believe that by diversifying, and providing an outstanding customer experience, we will continue to keep people coming through our doors and buying those antiquated old things known as….. books.

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