business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

USA Today reports on a poll conducted by Bookish finding that "40% of adults — including 46% of those ages 18 to 39 — own an e-reader or a tablet. That's more than double the numbers less than two years ago.

"Reading devices are even more popular among college graduates (60% say they have one) and those with annual household incomes of at least $75,000 (62%).

"According to the poll, 35% of those with reading devices say they're reading more books since they got their reading devices."

This is reality.

There will be folks who will say that somehow reading on tablets is somehow morally inferior to reading a physical book. There will be folks who say that shopping in a physical bookstore is a better, more personal experience than shopping for them online. And there are those who will argue that this is a pitched battle of values, and want to hold back what they see as a violent, unfriendly technological storm.

All of which I think is nonsense.

Reading is reading. Business models change, technologies change, and shopper priorities change.

This is a competition of preferences, not a battle of values. To cast it any other way is to be in denial about how the world works.

And I would argue that the challenge to physical bookstores is to find new ways to compete, not to simply rage against the dying of the light.

Compete is a verb. (Haven't said that for a while.)
KC's View: