This is an interesting perspective. I suppose that like all booms, there will be big winners in small numbers and big losers in much larger numbers!
But if it’s not appropriate to speak of a golden age, there’s certainly some kind of boom going on. Ben Johncock’s recent Guardian blog on contemporary magazines illustrates how vital the print culture remains. Who could have predicted, in the age of the worldwide web, that so many little magazines would be flourishing so vibrantly? This goes to show, I’d say, that we are living through an age of almost unprecedented literary activity. Never before have so many been writing emails; blogs; texts; tweets; novels; poems, etc and never before has so much of this transmission been so widely received – globally, in fact. Never mind the quality that’s a later judgment, feel the width.Consider, too, the explosion of literary activity: from prizes hardly a week goes by without the announcement of yet another shortlist or the fall-out from some literary prize jury, to festivals hardly a town in Britain that’s not involved in, or affiliated to, some kind of literary programme, to ebooks annual sales in the US now soaring close to $1,000m. Audiobooks are booming; writing schools are springing up like mushrooms; any amount of excellent self-publishing is happening. The big book chains are in trouble, but several small independent bookshops are defying both gravity and austerity and doing very nicely, thank you. If this – as some commentators like to predict – is the end of civilisation as we know, bring on the Dark Ages.
via I was wrong about the golden age. But we are in a literary boom | Books | guardian.co.uk.
This was, in some senses, bound to happen. If it proves to be true it is the start of the erosion of the print business model, the one that sees publishers forced to cut print runs, reduce their benefits of scale in print and perhaps encourage them to begin converting print readers to digital ones.
The growth in e-book sales in genres such as romance and science-fiction is leading to a cannibalisation in sales of printed books, according to Nielsen BookScan data.
Sales of printed romance books have fallen for the first time since records began at a time when e-book sales have more than doubled.
The data, released as part of a seminar held yesterday with Enders Analysis, ‘Digital Seminar: e-books and their impact on the market’, showed genres such as science fiction and romance are “overperforming” thanks to the tastes of early adopters of e-books. For example, the e-book market share of the science fiction and fantasy sector globally for the 10 weeks since June was 10%, more than treble the genre’s market share of print book sales. The share taken by romance and saga books was 14%, seven times its print market share.
via E-book sales begin to cannibalise print | theBookseller.com.
Hand-selling, local and small, the future of bookstore?
While book sales are down, industry experts say the demand for bookstores with a local feel remains strong.
Bookstore owners say the industry has found new life with the locavore movement, which puts a premium on locally grown or raised food. The trend has brought farmers markets and by extension breweries and craft soap factories to cities.
“People are rediscovering the value of an independent store that’s connected to their neighborhood and understands them and their tastes,” said Jessica Stockton Bugnolo, who opened Greenlight Bookstore this year.
via U.S. neighborhood bookstores thrive in digital age | Technology | Reuters.