There's been much talk about independents unable to compete with the big boys and chains such as Borders in serious trouble and closing many of their stores.
However, my husband offered up another theory regarding the fate of the bookstore.
He points to what has happened with the music industry.
Remember how there used to be multiple 'record' stores in every town? What happened?
Music stores can only carry so much inventory - it costs money. So they cannot carry the variety of music one can find online. And if you are seeking a band that does not reside in the top 40, you'll probably have to turn to the Web to find it. Yes, it may take a couple days to receive a CD, but the store will take just as long to get it in stock, too.
I-Tunes and music downloads have changed the face of music as well. Don't need a store for song files! And mp3 files are instant - no waiting! Just download a CD and listen. Or just pick one song rather than plunking down $15 for the whole CD.
Compare that to books. No store can carry the variety available online, whether it be Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or Powell's if you are seeking a used book. Yes, there's a few days of waiting for it to arrive, but if your local store doesn't carry the title...
Now we have E-Books in the mix as well. Again, no store needed. Instant download and gratification. And the price is lower than for the physical product.
And with 400,000 new books last year, no store can carry all those titles - so from an author's standpoint, the Internet has created a level playing field, just as it's done for a lot of bands and musicians.
I think it's an interesting theory. As my husband pointed out, we haven't purchased music in a physical store in years. And physical book purchases have only occurred because I visit a lot of stores for signings - otherwise, we order most books online, too. (Wish I could support my local independent, but sadly, we don't have one!)
What do you think?