The publishing industry finds itself in the throws of monumental change, perhaps equal to or greater than the invention of the Gutenberg Press. This ins’t hyperbole. The greatest agent of change, the hero or the villain depending on your point of view, is Amazon. I’m not an Amazon fanboy, though I might be considered a Kindle enthusiast. I had a Kindle in my hand the day after Bezos announced it, where previously I had been contemplating the Sony Reader. I’ve been following Amazon since the high flying ’90s as well as the publishing industry of late – and I think Amazon employs some pretty nasty tactics at times and gets away with being a bully. That being said, it’s also subject to the same market forces that drive companies to success or failure every day in free and open markets.
I’ve been conversing with two authors I know and my wife about a windmill titling idea: what could a small book store do in order to survive the current decline. One of these authors, Damon Courtney, is an old friend (I think we met in 1990 or ’91 playing Dungeons & Dragons), who also maintains The Pauper’s Book Club for inexpensive Kindle Books. The other, Peter Cawdron, I met after offering up my critiques and support for his new writing project. The conversations occurs through e-mails which were general in nature. I’m not sure if such an idea if viable, but it’s a fun exercise. What do you think a local book store could do to not only survive, but thrive in an industry dominated by Amazon.com?