Are eBooks Destroying the Culture of Book Sales?


The global bookstore industry has experienced many trials and tribulations over the past decade. Indigo Books in Canada have lost $ 20 million every quarter over the past year, Borders Books in the US has gone bankrupt and everyone is feeling the effects of Amazon. Are e-books destroying our culture of selling books?

The Canadian bookstore industry is dominated by Chapters Indigo. You can get a good indication of the number of people who buy printed books by looking at their overall financial profitability. The bookseller reported a loss of $ 10 million last November and a massive drop of $ 20 million in June. The latest figures released a few weeks ago see their resources dwindle further, with a loss of $ 14 million and total revenues of CAN $ 180.8 million. One of the main reasons the losses weren’t as great as they could have been was mainly due to the fact that seven bookstores closed.

On February 16, 2011, Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and began liquidating 226 of its stores in the United States. It liquidated 399 outlets on July 22, with the last remaining stores closing on September 18, 2011. Rival bookseller Barnes & Noble acquired Borders’ brands and customer list.

Bernard Terrades is a bookseller in Paris and recently said that Amazon dominates in France and steals its culture from the country. “It’s completely empty,” Terrades said. “There is no connection with the customers. People have lost the curiosity to go out and find books.

The battle in Europe is as much cultural as it is financial. In France, the government decided to protect independent bookstores, as it has done for years, as books occupy a prominent place in a country that has produced literary giants such as Voltaire and Proust. Last year, the French government enacted a new law that prevents free delivery of physical books online. Amazon responded by charging a mere dime for shipping, which is a nominal amount and is still a problem.

According to a recent article in the Seattle weather, declared the newspaper: “Many French people consider the bookstores as the heart of this culture. These are not just stores to buy the latest bestseller, but a civic space that helps keep its citizens engaged and informed. For many, preserving bookstores is not just about saving an industry; it’s about perpetuating the ideals inherent in being French.

Many leading publishers, such as Random Penguin, Hachette, and Simon and Schuster, derive around 25% of their global revenues from eBooks. It is a growing segment that helps them generate additional income due to the affordable nature of their creation and distribution.

Amazon is fighting against cultural currents on a global scale, as evidenced by their recent behaviorisms. Whether it’s tough negotiations with Hachette or the fight against German warehouse workers. The UK government publicly berated them for embezzling their income overseas, resulting in massive tax dodging.

E-books have their drawbacks, besides disrupting the traditional book-selling industry. A recent study had 28 copies of the same book distributed half in pocket size and the other half on the Amazon Kindle. Anne Mangen of the Norwegian University of Stavanger, a principal investigator of the study, said that “Kindle readers performed much worse on the plot reconstruction measure.” Readers struggled to understand the 14 key aspects of the plot. The researchers suggest that “the haptic and tactile feedback from a Kindle does not provide the same support for the mental reconstruction of a story as a printed paperback.”

“When you read on paper, you can feel with your fingers a stack of pages on the left growing and shrinking on the right,” Mangen said. “You have a tactile sense of progress, in addition to the visual… [The differences for Kindle readers] It might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of the paper as you progress through a story, is a kind of sensory discharge, supporting the visual sense. of progress when you read. Maybe it helps the reader in some way, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader’s sense of how the text unfolds and progresses, and therefore the story.

Bookstores, a place where like-minded souls come together for the love of literature. The average person buys books, relaxes on a sofa, and flips through a magazine or socializes. As soon as you walk into a bookstore, you are engulfed in a sensory immersion. Buying e-books is not a social experience, but a lonely one.