Saturday, July 23, 2011

The 'new' software concept: books

A major news media posted a story that invited us to "Meet Barnes & Noble, software company."

I had to read the sentence twice.

My usual inclination is to think of Barnes & Noble as a book store.
Perhaps, I should have known better.

What we were is not what we will be.

We are rocketing into today where libraries shrink or, with pioneer style spirit, open a new five-story community library.

We live in a present-day where:

In January, experienced book buyers at Barnes & Noble were downsized. The influence a book buyer can exert on books is monumental. The maven of book influence is Oprah Winfrey. She no longer needs an expensive television show to wield power over books. She can post her reading recommendations on the Oprah's Book Club website.

This must free up millions in overhead.

For a fraction of the cost to produce and syndicate a television show, Oprah can duplicate herself online. Contest giveaways and clever questions will draw viewers over and over again to Once there,  Google ads and NOOK promotions that look so pretty they no longer look like ads are slipped in, not inserted into the content with glaring disruption like a 30-second television spot.

Then there's Amazon, a Washington State business, that delivers books wirelessly to Kindles, or delivers stand-alone books with actual pages via one of their massive number of booksellers. They were one of the first ones to 'get-it,' that there were other ways to build a business model. Hot on their heels is Apple, who is partnering with publishers.

And didn't Google announce a Google eBookstore with resulting copyright infringement lawsuit and settlement?


I completely forgot Walmart and Costco. Two behemoths wielding immense influence on the book buying public with their seemingly good prices. I say seemingly, because for the same price I could have bought the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell from Amazon for my Kindle, new from Costco, or used from Powells. ALL AT THE SAME PRICE.  But, which seller offered me the most choices, the best shopping experience, the smell of coffee...

Where did I purchase Blink? I'll let you guess -- leave your choice in the comments section and after five inquiries I'll post the answer.

Of course, I could have checked it out free from the new library downtown. I'm not sure I want to get to fond of that place, though. It may disappear into the electronic fray. I suspect not too far into the distant future, we'll be downloading our books from the library's website leaving the new building to scout for alternative uses. At this point, I suggest a community center, with regular author visits which can be announced on the library's future smartphone app.

We'll show up, shake hands with our writing-idol and have them email us a 'personalized' electronic signature.

After all, didn't our mothers teach us not to write in books?

Resources: Barnes & Noble Focuses on E-Books