The Case For Libraries

When it comes to books, libraries and publishers should be in it together, argues a leading marketing expert

digital-librariiesPUBLISHERS ARE RUNNING OUT OF SPACE. Not in their headquarters, some of which are larger and more imposing than ever, but in retail. The number of booksellers has been dwindling since the demise of Borders, and the largest book retailer today is Amazon, which has no physical space at all.

So the question is, where can publishers showcase new books? If only there were a space dedicated primarily to reading that hundreds of millions of Americans visit annually. If only there existed a trusted space, free of the revenue pressure that necessitates displaying lightly pornographic books of debatable quality. If only there were a space largely inhabited by active readers, where publishers could showcase new authors or shine new light on talented mid-listers.

That space exists in the 16,000 public library branches in America. They’re trusted and willing, and they welcome your attention. But libraries receive surprisingly little coordinated help from publishers beyond lip service—in fact, they’re still in the middle of a very public dispute with publishers about the high prices and restrictive access libraries must contend with to lend e-books to their patrons.

The tension between libraries and publishers seems odd in a market where physical space for displaying books is quickly disappearing. How did we get here? And could libraries actually represent a much better opportunity for publishers than they are given credit for? >>READ MORE

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Source: David Vinjamuri || Publisher’s Weekly || April 2015

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