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for starters I know of studies on line length and attention and focus but where I saw them heaven only knows

why do we need studies about something which we can observe, ourselves.

If something is serious, warranting careful attention, later return, etc., who doesn't print and read the hard copy

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I appreciate your post, thanks for sharing the post, i would like to hear more about this in future

Dan Feldman`

How about a post on the economics of mental health problems which have criminal potential, as in Tucson. The cost of caring for Giffords and burying the survivors plus the cost of the state and federal effort (I don't know if the media has a marginal cost) v. the cost of tagging the 40,000 (an imaginary figure?) who display the behavior pattern. Maybe even what one does with the information, once an individual has been tagged.


Dan Good suggestion. Might become a book rather than an essay! Some questions: Why is it that the US imprisons its folks at 5 times the rate of the "civilized" nations (we rank #1 over Russia) and still "enjoys" a gun slaughter rate 3 times higher with some 200,000 woundings and maimings per year that cost -- someone -- over $4 billion/yr.

What has it cost to have let the "assault" ban expire in 2004 that precluded the mfg of things like 33 round clips?

And.......... suppose it was easy and not a budget busting event to seek mental health services? Fortunately, with OK City bomber McVeigh having come out of Gulf War I, in mind, I note that the VA is doing a good job of outreach and serving those damaged by, often multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Back to the books: No discussion of the difficulties of the book, or for that matter, newspaper and magazine biz would be complete w/o mention of those media tracking the inflation curve while wages for most working folk have not.

Books have probably doubled in price over the last 20 years even as publishers and authors may have tightened their belts, while wage gains have been essentially flat, making what was once a whimsical buy on the way home a far more serious "investment" decision.

The same is likely the case for other local businesses such as restaurants with the "white table cloth" dinner house yielding to the cafe, and the cafe ultimately to the "fast food" fling of obesity causing fame.

Geez! I guess it's now 20 years ago that in this "richest of nations" that I was handed a box of "buttered" popcorn at the show with some vile tasting, heart stopping corporate glop on it instead of real butter............ and no choice. Ahhh, progress, eh?


Life is short. The time and effort required to refute each and every nonsensical point that Jack offers would exceed not only my own life span, but at least two generations of my offspring. So, with that in mind, let's target the following assertion by Jack.

"BTW have you noticed all the recent Home Depot ads install their cabinets, windows, flooring et al? Aah yes a bit more profit off to their HQ somewhere far away, fewer local craftsmen able to remain independent and more $15/hour jobs that don't pay the bills?"

Jack -- let me clue you in. This is not a "recent" development. Home Depot began offering these sorts of home improvement services to its customers about 30 years ago. Did you miss out on this development? If so, what plane of existence -- real, imaginary, drug-induced, or some other kind -- have you been frequenting?

annie hall

Thanks for your wonderful analysis. As an aging used bookseller I have been mulling over these same issues for many months now. Have any of you ever considered the effect of the remainder business on all this. Apparently the publishers dump millions of copies every year. These end up in bins everywhere, grocery stores, dollar stores, kiosks in malls, flea markets, drug stores, department stores etc. I'm sure you've all run in to them seemingly at every turn. Even the chains themselves now house huge remainder sections. The customers now seem conditioned to wait for the massive discount and many refrain from ever buying newly released books. A customer told me recently how furious he was to see the hard cover new release of his favourite author reduced to 4.99 when he had just paid 12.99 for the paperback. He had been waiting patiently for the paperback edition as he could not afford the 35.00 cost of the hard cover. So angry was he that he demanded the store give him a refund for the paperback and he then purchased the much cheaper hard cover. I'm wondering how many other book buyers get annoyed to see such unfair price fluctuations. If i had a magic wand I'd wave it over the publishers and make them stop remaindering books. I think these extra cheap copies are the most dangerous threat to the brick and mortar book shops. Since there are millions of them for sale on the internet for one dollar, the publishers must charge next to nothing for what they dump. Surely it can't be worth their while, especially considering the negative impact it must cause to their sales of new, list price titles. Would appreciate if someone could shed some light on these mysteries of the economies of publishers.


Odin: Thanks! Glad there are a few readers here! But! the subject of my post regarding H-D was that of "all the recent ads". Are you seeing them on the net where you are?

Also, quick one, those of today who've self-identified as some sort of "conservative" (even as what was once the principles of that fairly respectable sect appear to have been left far behind) who might tend to disagree with some of my pragmatic suggestions for resuscitating our very sick economy are a curious bunch.

While extolling the virtues of entrepreneurship (in which they seem rarely involved) they appear oblivious to how very FEW opportunities have been left to the local folk. This discussion of book stores either being thumped by the cyber world or, as pointed out above, by mega-sellers in league with publishers is a case in point, and one shared by those attempting to run locally owned, independent cafes, stores of all types, or any of a number of family businesses that used be viable including small farms et al.

Perhaps?? you've some suggestions for those who'd prefer not to be return to the serfdom of working "FOR" H-D and the other corporatists who pump the profits out of the community, never to return? H-D now being a "leader" in ridding itself, even, of pesky checkout clerks in favor of "self-checkout?"

Aaah yes! The Sci-fi future of automation but w/o even the $15hr job of expediting the cash to some far off HQ? And? do guys of your viewpoint "believe" that something akin to full employment and a job for all who'd like to contribute their energy and talents are "just over the horizon?" or? anywhere near the horizon? Or? that with just a bit more tax "relief" the top 2% of gleaners and "trickle down" will commence shortly?

It's open mike here......... so let's hear your theories.


Annie: Hi! Pretty tough problem, selling a used book is not made easier by the new one being at Costco, Sam's or B&N who surely enjoy a special relationship with the publishers over independent small volume stores.

We have, in Anchorage, what was described to me by, a visitor from NY as the best used book store he'd ever visited. It started small, then moved to what had been (Pre-Lowes/H-D) a great locally owned hardware store replete with clerks of considerable seniority who knew their stuff) and finally to a large space housing a Safeway, (before Safeway bought out the competing Carrs Markets, and HAD to close several locations to avoid anti-trust prosecution for owning too much of the market.

I believe their formula is similar to other towns, with, like Borders etc. visiting authors, some evening entertainment, coffee house etc that make it a popular place to "hang" or meet a friend in the afternoon.

Anchorage with still fairly high, but falling, HH income and long winters is still a "reading town". Best of luck in one of the few local retailing biz left.


Armut Koltuk

Thank you for this post. Im agree with your writings. Internet kills the book stores. Because no one read a book.

çocuk sandalyesi

Books are very important for human history. But today book stores continues to be closed. This is really sad.


Love your articles, always inspiring and interesting.

Thanks for all these

I salute you guys


I think the physical book is not quite as doomed as say the compact disc. Books are viewed as little trophies and have an aesthetic value when placed on a shelf. Who gets excited about finishing a long article on the internet? Not me. I did feel a sense of pride when I finished The Brothers Karamazov and had it sitting on my shelf.

Of course, I'm not sure that the big chains can really thrive like the once did.

Maria Payroll

E-books are coming out everywhere. I think, this is one reason why most bookstores are shutting down.


Can the bookstore survive? Yes, I think it would. Even if the future generations, all have tablets that can contain all the books in the world, getting a book from a traditional bookstore, would more likely be a special privilege. I foresee it as some kind of luxury in the future, wherein you have a bookstore where you can read a hardbound book, only for a huge fee.


Hate to say it, but bookstores are utterly doomed. Look at newspaper readership, the daily equivilent of topical relevant information? Readership is down over 40% the past year. Books, while they will always have a place, are a dying breed. Ipads, the internet and tablets are replacing them, and quickly. Sad...


I enjoy reading books in various bookstores...


Being the owner of a small press and an author of a few books, I will be absolutely delighted to see the demise of the business model as it stands



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As for me, I prefer paper books by all means, and if I need something serious to read, certainly I'll go to the bookstore. I cant explain why but reading paper books are far more pleasant.

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Amazon is the principal seller in this market. No bookstore is involved unless Amazon doesn’t have the book in inventory.It is true that Amazon’s book-recommendation program is primitive, and is no substitute for browsing in a well-stocked bookstore, but it will improve


BTW have you noticed all the recent Home Depot ads install their cabinets, windows, flooring et al? Aah yes a bit more profit off to their HQ somewhere far away, fewer local craftsmen able to remain independent and more $15/hour jobs that don't pay the bills?

Health Lab

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One example, that comes to mind because I bought one this past weekend, are cookbooks. There is incredible value to perusing cookbooks before purchase - primarily to see if the book as the sort of recipes one is looking for. And while you can obtain cookbooks on the Kindle, I personally find it easier to have a physical book with me in the kitchen as I cook, instead of worrying about dropping my kindle into the sink.

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