Posted on 2012-Sep-26
The arrival of electronic reading is not welcomed by book conservationists who are strongly attached to the familiar presence of their reading materials. It was the notorious irony of situation when James Daunt, Waterstones bookshop MD, branded Amazon as a ‘ruthless money-making devil’ to jeopardize the publishing industry yet took back his word when his business deal with the giant retailer was finalized in May.
To everyone’s surprise, not only does he embrace eBooks as one of the highly strategic mediums to improve the aging bookshop, but he also agreed to green-light the shop’s renovation to incorporate WiFi in the store nationwide to boost their sales. Mr. Daunt tends to modernize the brick-and-mortar bookshops and turn them into a sanctuary where all readers can find attentive staff, coffee, and an online collection of their favorite books. According to the Telegraph, it is estimated that half of the shop visitors own an eReader.
His opinion regarding the latest negotiation with the publishers reflects their sentiment to adjust themselves to an evolving industry. Selling and reordering are parts of his plans to diminish the piling stock of unwanted books.
However, the resistance from Richard Russo–Pulitzer Prize winner and novelist–denounces the digital age by preventing his books to be sold digitally. He sees eBooks as the emerging threat to have taken over the industry and put the bookstores, the publishing industry, and new authors in danger. Conservative writers worry about the changing industry; but the other side of the coin is that books will be created to facilitate the readers.
When asked whether the printing industry will become extinct, Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, explains optimistically how candle-makers had to change the way they did the business after Thomas Edison’s invention. Novelist and Downtown Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes, said that writer and people in the publishing industry should “wake up to this (digital transformation) early”. He jokingly compares the size of his suitcase full of books to his wife’s mere ‘little appliance’ on their vacation.
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