In this three part series we will examine, in Part 1, what the new bookworld order is, what kind of toys it has and what that meant to independent bookstores. In Part 2, we will take a necessary trip to the dark side of American institutions and look at the year when it all began for Robin's Book Store. We conclude in Part 3 with a better understanding of the value of Robin's Book Store in reforming America's institutions and in upholding the credo of the revolutionary spirit.
The new bookworld order
The revolution will be digitalized
Yes, revolution, and the blood letting that has been going on now for some time has produced a clear winner. A new world order has emerged in the book world and it is unstoppable. We see it, accept it and are overwhelmed by it.
Resistance is futile
Yet there are those who yearn for the warmer, friendlier method of printable delivery that has lasted for over 500 years, beginning with the invention of the printing press. Still, it is clear that resistance is futile. Witness the vanishing book to the ascendant nook.
Rather it be the Barns & Nobel Nook HD+, the Amazon.com Kindle Fire HD, the Apple iPad Mini, the Google Nexos 7, the Sony Reader, Kobo Glo, Icarus Excel, or any other makes and models, these babies burn rubber.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but the sun rises on a new world, and like the British Empire of old, never, ever sets.
Carrier like mega forces
These optionally app filled gadgets are fighter birds launched from the decks of aircraft carrier like, large, multifaceted electronic commerce adept, nearly omnipotent, mega forces, that are the corporate enforcers of the new bookworld order.
Their influence through accumulated wealth, monopolistic power and employment characteristic, represents a potent legal, legislative, political, and national resource interest.
These aren't just a bunch of eggheads debating who the actual author is of an obscure or classic body of literary work. They are market power elites, utilizing their strategic, technological, and market share brute force, to power their way past the competition and on to open waters.
Turf war tug o war
Consider a New York Times article by Motoko Rich and Brad Stone entitled Amazon threatens publishers as Apple looms. In it, the general characteristics of a power tug o war between two monolithic multinational corporations over the price of ebook titles, control of publisher distribution, and sales modeling, offers a glimpse into the strategic nature of turf wars in the new bookworld order.
Rebel independent vs the arsenal
Book sellers like Amazon.com, Barns & Nobel, and Walmart, so severely undercut the pricing of competitors that, not unlike falling profit margins, the squeeze out of the book market is a revenue diet few businesspeople can survive on.
Without an avenue of retreat to a vibrant consumer niche one can specialized in, the sheer advertising, logistical, variable entertainment product selection and product price manipulation power, of the arsenal, appears to be much more than any but a like titan can handle.
Even at that titanic level,
the cost of misreading the market and placing capitol bricks and mortar investment ahead of ecommerce and ebook technology and product development, could, as with Border's Book Store, be all she wrote.
Adding insult to injury
Rock star like followings
The same trust that once may have been reserved for the face to face transaction specializing independent operator.
If the above speculations accurately reflect the nature of consumer sentiment and loyalty in today's marketplace, a truer example of a reversal of fortunes would be hard to come by.
Time to sing the song
As when Dandy Don Merridith popularized these lyrics while singing to a national and international live television audience on ABC's Monday Night Football, once one teams fate had become abundantly clear,
turn out the lights, the party's over.
In the Larry Robin's Book Store biography, Larry described this consolidated takeover of both publishing and selling by multinational corporations that, by his estimation, had eliminated over fifty percent of independent bookstores across the nation during the 1990's.
In any revolution, something is gained while something else is lost.
In the gain
The individual can literally carry the world,
past and present, of literature, of entertainment, of people socially engaged, the office, the marketplace, the headlines, in virtually face to face communication,
in their jacket pocket.
In the loss
Yet another avenue to the revolutionary spirit.
In part 2 we travel to the time of the beginning of Robin's Book Store to what must be seen as,
the dark side