Monday, October 8, 2007

Eking out an existence, eh?

Apparently, after the next ten years, a certain ten businesses will face extinction ... such as telemarketers, arcades and used bookstores:

Used bookstores
They've been closing fast, and those that are still open are relying on what's making them obsolete: the internet. A used bookstore used to be the place to find that beloved, out-of-print children's book you used to read 17 times a day until your little sister flushed it down the toilet. Now you just type that title in a search engine and order it within minutes.
Odds of survival in 10 years: Some of them will still be eking out an existence, but the handwriting is on the wall.

What do you think, gentle readers?


Anonymous said...

The internet, like closed-stack libraries, is useful if you're looking for one specific, exact title (and you can't find it in the local store) -- the single thing it is best at, which also happens to be the example given in that article.

However, it stinks on toast for casual browsing, for looking over books in a general subject, for sudden discoveries or for serendipitous finds. It's no good, in other words, for *shopping*.

I certainly hope you'll still be there in ten years.


chicago pop said...

I also hope you'll be here in 10 years, and also hope you're selling on line. You've obviously realized the power of the web and have this delightful blog going (I'm actually thinking of buying that 1937 Spokane telephone book -- for the adds!); internet sales are the only thing that keep Powells going. Sell nationally and you can stay open locally -- as I very much hope you do!

O'Gara and Wilson said...

We do indeed sell some things online, on -- many of our prices are heavily marked up there, though, because of the significant cut they take (13%).

I've noticed that online sites like Amazon are trying to implement browsing "tools", but these don't seem to quite work right. We'll still have an edge in that department for some time!

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