Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Future of Bookselling

I've been enjoying the series of articles in Poets & Writers in which agents and editors are interviewed. In the current issue (July-August 2009), Jofie Ferrari-Adler speaks with Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Galassi has many interesting things to say, but here's something that jumped out at me:
Actually, at our sales conference . . . some of the salesmen were saying that neighborhood bookstores are doing better in the economic crisis because people are more interested in buying locally and supporting small businesses. I think this crisis could have a lot of good effects for the culture. It's slowing things down--slowing down the pace of change--and making people aware of what's important in life. It's not just more, more, more. But I think all of the traditional bookstore chains are in trouble. Amazon is very, very effective. But I think Amazon is a potential . . . it's a frenemy. It's not just interested in being a bookstore. So I think we have to sell our own books to people. . . We don't want to muscle out the retailers. But I think . . . the bookstores are the weakest link in the chain. . . . There are always going to be bookstores, but I don't think that's where the future of bookselling is. (emphasis added)

Agreed. The future of bookselling isn't in bookstores; it's right here, online.

No comments: