lunes, 22 de septiembre de 2014

Bookstores and publishers and electrons, oh my!

I was writing a response to Dean's post on publishing, which I didn't post (I almost published it when Dean's original post was featured on PV, then decided he didn't need my half-assed defense anyhow), when an idea came to me. I shelved it fr later use.

Then, someone commented on another PV post about bookshops and the new reading and buying paradigm. And I recalled a chat some months ago, with a bookseller saying that amazon and him were not in the same business.

Hm... Please be aware of population densities and groupings of likely readers. Spanish is a big language, but it's widely dispersed, on one hand, and also tighly packed, in another. My county's density is four times that of the city of Chicago, "the Grey City"; the whole Spanish density is about 3x that of the US, its size that of a couple of biggish US states together.

One of the consequences of this is that I have three bookshops within 100 m of home, and I think I'm missing some. Indie, as the US would consider them. Small, cluttered. Three points of sale, nonetheless. Since book price, here, has mandatory agency pricing, they don't compete in price. They compete... in choice.

One of them does some digital printing. Now, imagine I could click a button on their website that ordered a book, printed it and either delivered it to my door (100m, remember), or had it waiting for me when I passed by them as I got home in the evening.

Or that they served as an Amazon point of delivery. Face it, most city dwellers have weird hours for delivery, unless your workplace allows for those.

Or that the US-mandatory coffe space (unusual here, mostly) had Kindles, or equivalent, with loaded books that allowed you to buy and send the whole book to your own account.

At a lesser tech stage, available now, window stickers with the Amazon-Affiliates QR code of the product and another one for the shop (or one for the shop with a non-hidden link to the amazon store). The amazon-ES link would make for 10% of the sale, right now, guys! Without logistics, without hassles.

Or... Imagine small publishers doing the same, sending their books from México DF to Bogotá or Madrid, to be printed and sold. Yes, each copy would be individually more expensive. Sometimes, though, product distribution takes too big a toll, and that's when you get distributed production (computing and electricity can serve as examples, if you need some).

Yes, the whole thing is deeply disruptive. But electrons don't have to kill the bookshop or publishers. It will require, I believe,for Spaniards to open up some to American Spanish, maybe turning the net into the equivalent to TV and radio for language homogeneization, as they were in Europe a couple of generations ago.

And it will require the book industry to think. To adapt.

Take care.

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