Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Life's tough for bookstores

The New York Times has a fascinating article by David Streitfeld about how the Internet is killing off traditional bookstores and hurting book publishers. It's not so much sales of new books by Amazon that's hurting so much as the ability of readers to buy used books very cheaply. There's little incentive to buy a book new unless you're an "early adopter" who has to have it right away when it's published.

Streitfeld emphasizes the sale of used books on the Internet, but my wife and I most often obtain our used books from trading sites such as PaperbackSwap.com and BookMooch. I still have to buy books when I want something that's brand new, such as the expensive new Dilbert hardcover I got for Christmas, or something from a hard-to-find cult author such as Robert Anton Wilson, but for most books the book-swapping sites work just fine.

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