Four months ago, it mattered if libraries were or weren’t a direct threat to booksellers. Today, this question is irrelevant. What matters is that the participants in the industry aren’t innovating at the pace readers are seeking and expecting solutions v. reading’s alternatives.
When looking specifically at traditional publishers and booksellers, two questions arise:
- Could it just be that traditional booksellers and publishers aren’t innovating quickly enough to meet the needs of today’s authors and readers? (Absolutely)
- Could it be that traditional booksellers and publishers are being out innovated by, of all parties, cash and funding-strapped libraries? (Absolutely)
Libraries have, for a very long time, been battling competition from not reading. They’re experts in this area – which is why they made such consistent inroads as an early competitor to booksellers and a thorn-in-the-side of publishers.
What I don’t understand from this article is exactly what changed so drastically in the last four months. It seems to me that getting people to read instead of doing other things (like Angry Birds) has always been part of the issue…