What does the new publishing model look like? Who sells what, and to whom? And if Borders is gone, is Barnes & Noble the biggest player? Or is Amazon? Will there be another big chain in the future, and will that chain’s numbers be built upon the sales of its touch-screen readers, its magazines, or its mall-like foodcourt?
These past five years, I’ve felt like an old lion with a zoo being built around me. And I’m only 35 years old.
And what role will independent bookstores play in all of this? Will indies disappear like 8-tracks and cassette tapes, nostalgic vestiges of the past, or will they stay small and viable like vinyl? What will happen as books are self-published and marketed through social media and micro-blogging, as a Facebook “like” takes precedent over all else?
It’s hard to tell.
But we still know one thing. As readers continue to read, they will find authors and titles they love. And when they love something, they’ll put that something into the hands of a friend or family member. They’ll say, “Ooh, this is SO good. You have to read it.”
As long as bookstores exist, people will keep buying books because the person next to them puts it in their hands. Literally. As Sherman Alexie writes in “Superman and Me”: “Books,” I tell them. “Books.”
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