Book Evolution, with Sidebar

Here we are. At the back edge of week out. Half of the misery that is week out has been endured. Yesterday was a calm day, mostly because FD SCP was off doing social activities with SCPdatter and so SCP was bereft of adult supervision. And I got to go to the Tractor (Supply Co.) and procure squirrel seed. And generally poke around the stuff without having to worry about whether I was being nekulturny or not. But we did have to drip the plumbing last night as the temperature got down into the moderate risk zone for white water freezing. Happily FD SCP was still gone when I argued with the fixtures and exercised my repertoire of profanity.

 One of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me an article [Link] on the future of brick and mortar (B&M) book stores, in particular Barnes and Ignoble. He had commented and I have to acknowledge that I am in great agreement with him. In fact, I exhibit similar behavior. Basically, if I know a book that I want, I buy it on-line. If it is an older book, I go to Alibris and buy it used; if it is new I usually buy it from Amazon since I get (sorta) free shipping and avoid paying baksheesh to the state dermatologist.

Before proceeding I should say that I am not opposed to taxation. In my youth I though that government should own certain money making activities, such as utilities, but now that I am older I have to acknowledge that government is not suited to such things. Not that corporations are any less incompetent, just in different azimuths. I am however opposed to taxes on food and information (mind food.) I won’t pretend to any rational objection because all the objections I have heard are drek.

I do not like income tax, but I do acknowledge that it seems better than many others. I would eradicate any deductions or shenanigans. Income is income, regardless of whether we actually put it in our checking account. Family size is also irrelevant; if you are stupid enough to have too many children, then suffer. I would require that any income tax be fixed rate. No changes from year to year. The government should be held to the same accountability as I am.

And I would mandate that all sales taxes be embedded in prices.

But returning to the book store thing, the only time I go into a B&M bookstore is when I want to browse. Yes there are sections that I always visit, but I also wander a bit. And if I get enthralled with a couple of books I buy them. I seldom buy just one book because the overhead of queuing to pay is too high for just one book. But I almost never don’t find more than one book.

The crucial point, made by my colleague and hammered here by me, is that the future of the bookstore is the adventure purchase. The discovery of the unknown, of something new and, we hope, wonderful. That’s what they have to cater to, not to the folks who come in to buy some book they saw reviewed in a periodical or on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver. That population is orthogonal. It goes to its computer and orders on-line with delivery to home.

That’s the shape of the world today. Almost all “normal” shopping is on-line, except for those things that are transportation price sensitive. That’s why we still have grocery stores and not just produce and meat markets. But the nature of local shopping has to be adventure and entertainment and it is not just the book business that is having to change.

Selah.

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