Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Advice from Peter Osnos
Last week, Shelf Awareness featured a conversation with Peter Osnos, founder and editor-at-large of PublicAffairs and founder of The Caravan Project. In the piece, Osnos explains that he sees a bright future for the book world because as technology advances a book publishing model is developing that will make it possible for readers to buy books in any format they choose – traditional, e-books, print-on-demand, or audio, and he envisions that this could take place in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore. He does however, have concerns about booksellers who, "still have not yet accepted that digital delivery is a good thing and that it can be part of what they do. There isn't any reason any bookseller cannot completely embrace digital delivery." His advice for people in the industry is to "step back and think of themselves as civilians and appreciate the extent to which we always look for convenience and quality. It doesn't mean that 100% of people will read online and that the printed book is doomed. It means that there will be choices and options, and it's essential that publishers and booksellers be a part of that." Embracing digital delivery and recognizing the opportunities and options it provides is especially important advice for college stores. We do not have time to wait because if college stores do not provide content options in the formats that students desire, someone else will.