TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Say Goodbye to Your Bookstore

Say Goodbye to Your Bookstore

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
We have five senses: Taste, touch, hearing, sight, and smell. The internet has changed two of those senses forever. If you can see it or hear it, the world has changed on how you get it.
If you grew up in the 1960’s through the 1980’s then you probably spent a considerable amount of time perusing albums at the record store. By the 1990’s, MP3’s came out and the music industry took a nosedive. Steadily, the loss of these iconic record stores has whittled down to just 2,700 for the entire country according to the NY Times. Five years ago that number was double. Tower Records, Musicland, and other big names in the industry just closed up. Today, 65% of all CDs that sell in a store do so in big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. The rest are all sold online. Change has come.
Verizon made big headlines a few years ago by becoming the only new competitor to cable since Satellite. They dug up our sidewalks and cities and promised big things in both internet and TV. Then came Hulu and other websites that made online deals between the major networks and the on-demand internet companies. You no longer have to have to pay anything to watch most of your favorite shows. Just pay for the internet connection. Verizon was caught completely flat footed and sold their FIOS home video and internet business to Frontier. Comcast is working out the details to allow you to watch all your cable channels online, because they, too, see the writing on the wall.
Even DirecTV is offering football online to your computer if you have the satellite package. Not to mention the new packages allowing you to watch TV on your smart phones (those would work better if they could just make the battery last longer).
Newspapers have folded or have gone “online only” by the dozens, including big ones in the Northwest. Now you can get a Kindle from Amazon and have the newspaper downloaded to it electronically (just when I thought about getting my old paper route back).  The NY Times and other large papers are deciding on the best way to stop printing on paper and switch to an electronic medium. This will likely happen in the next 24 months.
One of the last big changes to media will be the way we read our books. The book stores were very smart though. They made going to the bookstore an experience. They pipe in music and offer coffee and pastries. Even libraries tried to make the experience a lot less dull by adding computers, the internet, and a large video and audio collection. But it won’t be enough. Your large bookstores will soon be history.
Of course you will be able to purchase a paper copy book for many years to come. But why would you? If you buy an electronic device like a Kindle, you can buy the books for around 60% cheaper than a paper copy in most cases. You’ll have to put out some money for the device, but if you’re a voracious reader it will pay for itself very quickly, especially if you’re used to buying subscription based products like newspapers.
Is it greener to buy electronic over paper? Way greener! According to the enviro-news.com, 144 paper copy books account for 1000 Kilograms of CO2 emissions. 144 Ebooks account for 168 Kilograms. An 85% savings in CO2 is nothing to sneeze, cough, or gasp at.
So, where does your bookstore stand as far as viability? Last year the paper printing of books dropped by 4%. Since E-books are poised to grow by three fold in the next few years that likely means that book printing will go down 12% a year by 2011. How many businesses can lose that much of their business and stay viable? There will be a lot more giant empty stores within five years that move to an “online only” presence.
Even your library won’t be the same. Last week the first library in the US has gone 100% bookless. A prep school in Boston has gone to all terminals and has purchased digitized versions of their books. They have thrown out or sold all 20,000 of their paper copies.
You’ll see this to be a common occurrence as the economy recovers. We may soon have a giant book burning party, but it won’t be because the books are banned, it will be because the books are out of date.
I can’t say that these changes are bad or good. My job is to report the changes. It’s for you to decide the philosophy and to take steps to prepare for what’s coming. Like a hurricane, the changes are coming whether or not you try to stop them.
There are three senses left: Smell, taste, and touch. I wonder how the internet will change those next? Smellisivion anyone?
To buy my latest book “How to be an IT Administrator,” go to http://howtobeanitadministrator.com
For more great tips, check back here each week and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at 9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK and at 10:00 AM on KOL in Seattle, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com
If you would like your technical question answered here, just email rmcmillen@koin.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column, I will always answer by email.

Published Monday, September 14, 2009 9:25 AM by Katatkoin