Is The Physical Bookstore A Thing Of The Past?
from the may-finally-be-getting-there dept
What may be most interesting in the NY Times article, though, is that the blame isn't necessarily placed at online retailers directly -- but on the fact that online sites have made it much easier to resell used books. Thus, the argument goes, the market is now flooded with used books that individuals are selling out of their bedrooms, meaning that it rarely makes sense for anyone to pay full price for a new book anymore. It's an interesting argument -- and it's the type of argument we've seen made against used book sales in the past, and more recently that video game makers have been making concerning used video game sales.
However, it's not clear if this is really true. Past studies have shown that an active second hand market helps to boost the sales of new goods, because it makes those goods more valuable to folks who recognize they'll be able to resell them on the second hand market later. That may not be helpful to physical bookstore retailers, but those retailers have to learn to adjust with the times as well. Obviously, just selling books is going to make less and less sense, but we've seen retailers that have worked hard to turn their stores into destinations, where there were good reasons to go and buy stuff, rather than just being a physical version of what you could get online. If bookstores are unwilling to make those changes then is it really a huge loss?