Yesterday I finally gave in to both Blogger's demand that I move into their new beta system and Yahoo's entreaties to upgrade my system. I'd avoided both upgrades for so long that Yahoo was reduced to splitting my screen. Half the screen was devoted to dire warnings about the continued stability of my system. I finally did both upgrades yesterday evening.
All this to say that I was having "technical difficulties" when I posted last night. I was still trying to switch back and forth out of Blogger's "edit Html" mode. I had huge problems figuring out how to copy from Word into Blogger in the two modes (Yes, I admit it: I'm a slower learner when it comes to computers).
When I read my post from yesterday, I realized the following paragraphs had not transferred to the end of the post after the Incentive Program:
I've repeatedly said that I believe self-publishing is the wave of the future and that bricks-and-mortar bookstores need to be enlarging their vision of themselves. Amazon's moves may pave the way to helping self-pubbed writers and toward pushing bricks-and-mortars bookstores to reinvent themselves.
One of the huge impediments to self-publishing is that, once a writer holds a book in his hands, he still needs a way to drive traffic to his site. While Amazon has not solved that problem, it's easy to imagine a virtual marketplace--a bazaar, if you will--of self-pubbed writers linked together in a storefront that caters to fans of a particular genre. Can't you see a sci-fi site where readers could navigate easily among the self-pubbed books and topics of interest? Perhaps in one area a writer would be engaging in an online chat with readers while, in another area, a writer could be explaining how to build a believable fantasy world. While many writers are bonding together in Yahoo loops now, I suspect a group located on Amazon (together with a virtual bookstore) would make more sense.
Bricks-and-mortar bookstores will increasingly face some of the issues that university libraries now face. On September 19, 2005, I did a post titled "Not Your Grandmother's Library," in which I discussed the growing concern among universities regarding the lack of usage of the school library. Students are doing their research online and not visiting the libraries as frequently as they once did. There have been multiple initiatives among universities to discuss alternate uses for their libraries.
Some bookstores are already enlarging their role within the community or as places for social gatherings (installing coffee bars or Internet spots, hosting writers' meetings, etc). In my post about NAIBA the other day, I pointed out that the trade organization is urging its booksellers to embrace the role of handselling books. These are ways that booksellers can ensure their future and the future of their physical plants.