July 29, 2010

Bookselling: bushels or boutique

The resale value of books seems to have collapsed recently; physical booksellers near me remark that they have to buy at the lowest price found online plus shipping, which, for almost all books, is effectively the cost of shipping. You'd think the post office would be doing better.

That makes electronic books that we can't resell rather a lot closer, economically, to physical books; and physical books are hard to grep. If the DCMA is restrained until we can back up our own books, this might be a wash for most readers (assuming we learn to back up and index our digital possessions, which is also getting cheaper and easier).

Selling physical books seems increasingly quixotic. There's a warehouse in Seattle where booksellers who krill-filter the few books worth indexing sell the rest by weight. Taking the opposite approach, there's Ada's Technical Books, in a charming stone building (the Loveless building!) in Capitol Hill. Now, why buy there, instead of more cheaply? They're right close to a local hackerspace, so some clients will want to buy while the soldering iron is hot; and they're a nice place to be, with chairs and witty adornments and, generally, assistance in constructing a representation of self; one with some momentum. *I* bought.

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So wrote clew in Meta.
And thus wrote others:
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