A suggestion for independent bookstores

There is an article in the Guardian about how independent bookshops face a crisis because of ebooks. The Bookseller association quotes figures of declines in paper based books and an increase in ebooks.

Here’s a suggestion that may help. Sell access to the ebook along with the tangible paper copy of the book. I prefer to buy a book so I can lend it and have it on hand when required. At the moment, however, I don’t have the time or the ability to read a paper book. I read on the train, while out with my daughter when she is sleeping, and while I am nursing. So, when given the choice between paper and electronic versions, I will choose the electronic one because I have more of a chance of reading it.

I read on my phone either through the Kindle app or through an e-reader. I buy the content of the book so why can I only have it in one format? The cost to release the ebook must be minimal when also publishing a paper book.

Sell the rights for all formats of a book and paper copies will start to sell again. That’s my suggestion.

2 responses to “A suggestion for independent bookstores

  1. Hmm, I have to think about this – not that I’m a book seller. 🙂

    I have heard that making an ebook isn’t quite that cheap as most people think.

    On the other hand, I’ve never bought an ebook because I can get them for free (and not only because I’m a book blogger). Does that mean I buy fewer books? If I wasn’t a book blogger/hoarder, it probably would.

    • I remember a conversation on Twitter with a publisher who insisted that it wasn’t the cost of production that determined the price of books, but the value in the content. He was using that line of argument to justify why ebooks were as, or more, expensive than paper books. The logic must certainly mean that once you buy the content, the format of the book is trivial.

      I think you’re right in that it is not inexpensive to create an ebook but it is only one initial cost and then there is no additional cost at all for further copies, while paper books have a cost attached to each book.

      Just some thoughts. Thanks, Judith.

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