A lot of debate about whether or not bookstores have been killed by the digital movement, and it seems as if the conversation is at last beginning to move away from trying to figure out whose fault it is, whether or not digital books are here to stay, or the usual OhMyGodTheWorldAsWeKnowItIsComingToAnEnd... And, with any luck, this is the sort of conversation which will one day take center stage.
The thing is, media drives business, and business drives media. How? Supply and demand, baby. Suppliers are always looking for more cost-effective ways to deliver their goods, and the consumers are more and more looking for the best and most efficient way to get what they want. People like paper books, so they can order them quickly (if they're in a rush), or go to the nearest bookstore (if they like to leave the house from time to time). People also like digital books, because they're (usually) less expensive - easier to rationalize picking up new and independent authors - and, I mean, come on, now - you get them IMMEDIATELY.
But, yes. People will always still like paper books. Just like people still like classic cars and record players. But to deny that new media has offered up new options, new mediums; to hold off on looking into making your work accessible to digital formats, and that sort of thing? Well, you're just shooting yourself in the foot - I've been through the 8-track/record/cassette/DAT/CD/MP3 movement, and also the Beta/VHS/Laserdisc/DVD/HDDVD/Blu-Ray march, and....well, things change. Sometimes, they change very quickly.
What they rarely do is change BACK.
So, anyway, here are the links I was looking into which inspired this mini-blog. Check them out, they're both very good reads.
The full commentary can be found here, a really thought-provoking and concise breakdown can be found also here.