Borders and Babel
The above is a picture of the Borders store near my office. The ground floor of the place looks like a tornado has ripped through it, the basement is as you see above – empty shelves (also for sale, contact our administrator!) and garish posters and people creeping around like they’re raiding a tomb.
No doubt the world of publishing is changing, and the delivery method of bookification is undergoing a radical shift. I’ve had a few conversations with local indies, and they seem to be faring better than the chains, probably owing to customer loyalty and the intimacy shopping at a smaller store can bring. Minds out of the gutter peoples, I’m not talking about a Happy Ending™ with every purchase. It’s kinda like going to your local bar and ordering “the usual”. I used to have a local where I could just walk up to the bar and the dude behind it would pour me a Kilkenny without me even asking, and then he’d take me out the back and….
Anyways, I digress…
Dymocks (our other big chain down here) is still kicking, and wandering past the rows of DVDs and CDs in my dishevelled Borders, I couldn’t help but think they kinda dropped the ball. I’m unsure how they thought they were going to compete with big music/DVD chains, particularly given the shrinking nature of those markets due to online selling/piracy. But the point of all this is, as we seem to move closer towards an age of electronic delivery and consumption, and the notion of a bookshelf becomes more antiquated, I start to feel like a really old bastard.
See, I like BOOKS. I like the feel of them, the smell of them. I like collecting them, looking at them on my shelves. I like admiring the cover art, having the ability to read without a recharger or getting told by the stewardess “excuse me sir, all electronic devices must now be switched off, didn’t you know our nav’ systems are so crappy a fucking KINDLE can make us drop out of the sky”.
One of my fondest memories of being a kid was when my mother used to drop me off at a newsagent (kinda like a newsstand/bookstore all in one) in the mall while she did the grocery shopping. I would’ve been maybe ten at the time. I used to hunker down in the book aisle, pick a Stephen King book off the shelf, flip through ‘til I found a “good bit” and lose myself for an hour. And I kinda wonder how kids are going to get into books in an age where they only exist as files on a computer. Or what happens when those computers stop working. When we convert all our information into a format that can’t be interpreted without a secondary device(you only need your eyes to read a book) and set ourselves up for another Babel event.
Actually, that sounds like a neat idea for a book…
As I may have already mentioned, I’ve hooked up with a group of debut authors with dystopian/SF/F themes. We’ll be blogging, throwing spitballs and generally making fools of ourselves here. My first post is tomorrow. Or tonight. Depending in which part of the world you live. So yes, enjoy.
In STORMDANCER news, I’ve almost finished round 2 of edits. Everything is pretty much done, save one additional chapter I’ve been asked to write (yes, I’m still being asked for MOAARR). Still not sure how I’m going to make that one work, or even if we need it, or whether this calls for an appearance of Mr Primadonna.
It’s all feeling really good. Parts of it still give me goosebumps, and I must have read them 2184 times by now.
Can’t wait for y’all to see it. 🙂