Crawling out from under the rock, the weary editor looks around and then smacks her forehead, realizing she missed the beginning of Read an E-Books Week. More on that later.
First, however, I want to point you to a good article from Time about why Barnes & Noble has, so far, managed to avoid the pitfalls that seem destined to materially alter — if not doom — Borders. The author points out the prominent display of the Nook and its accessories in his local B&N, showing how the company recognizes the need to embrace the new technology and demands of the buying public. But more importantly, at least in my opinion, is the fact that the B&N management team has managed to maintain their financial health — having $900 million more in assets than they do in debt. Remember, at the time of the Borders’ bankruptcy filing, Borders owed approximately $40 million more than it had in assets.
Does this mean B&N is out of the woods? No. But it means they are working hard to stay a vibrant company. Here’s hoping they manage to do so. We need bookstores and the loss of even one is not something I want to see.
Then there’s this article from USA Today about how librarians are responding to Harper Collins limiting the number of times an e-book can be checked out to 26. (For some background, read here.) Some librarians are calling for a boycott of HC and using various social media sites to rally support for their cause.
This quote says so much: “It’s never pretty when a publisher decides they have to destroy books in order to save their business model,” Kelly Clever, a librarian at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., wrote on Twitter. It also points out something many of us have been saying for so long — that the traditional publishing houses simply aren’t willing to adapt their business models to the changing times. Instead, they try strangling the new technology in an attempt to either force it into the existing model or to make it so unattractive for their customers that it dies a premature death. “It would almost seem as if (publishers) are trying to force us back to print only,” Sarah Houghton-Jan, deputy director of the San Rafael (Calif.) Public Library, wrote on her blog (librarianinblack.net). “Oh what a sad day for publishers. You are killing your own business.”
Librarians aren’t the only ones up in arms by HC’s decision. Cory Doctorow has a very good post about it. One of the points he makes is what I mentioned in my earlier post — that, despite HC’s assertion, most library books are not pulled from the shelves as unusable after 26 check-outs. Go take a look at what he has to say.
Now for the giveaway. Leave a comment. At least one person will be chosen tomorrow to receive any one of our titles they want for free. Check back tomorrow for the winner or winners and to find out what e-book or short story we will be offering for free tomorrow.