Wednesday, February 9, 2011


More grim news from the world of books.

Powell's Books canned thirty-one staffers at its stores in Burnside and Beaverton and two industrial warehouses, a move they cite because of an "unprecedented, rapidly changing nature of the book industry... (and) changing consumer behavior". Which means that consumers are buying ebooks. They are cheaper for the most part than trade, pocket or hardbacks.

What does this mean for hard cover writers? I had five events in a four-day period at Barnes & Noble after THE END GAME came out. It was my first hard cover. The cost at B&N is $24.99. At Amazon it fluctuates from $18.00 to $11.00 (when the supplies get low). In a weak economy, consumers are not plunking down the big prices, instead are going for the trades (large paperbacks) or ebooks. More and more book buyers are opting for the ereader and the cheap books that Amazon prices lower than other online ebook sellers.

A Powell spokesman said they are losing sales to electronic books and expect to continue to do so for the next couple of years.

When I was signing at Barnes & Noble, many people went away with signed bookmarks, saying they were going to buy the ebook online. B&N sells ebooks through its Nook ereader.

Even though I have four ebooks available, I don't own an ereader. (I know how the story ends.) Probably will one day, but I'm old-fashioned and hope Powell's gets a clue and can hire back its staff.

Nothing like a bent binding and tattered jacket cover.

Gerrie Ferris Finger