Posts tagged ‘Creative destruction’

January 6, 2011

Creative Destruction Meets Bookstores

by Vince

Megan McArdle’s reflection on Borders’ withering has me thinking. I consider myself a newbie when it comes to books, bookstores, and libraries. Its only been a few years since I have valued having books and reading them frequently. Recently, I have spent some painstaking time thinking about the positive impact buying a book at an actual real life book store has compared to simply finding it on Amazon and having it delivered to my villa in 4-6 business days.

In today’s frugal times, Amazon is quite tempting. However, when I run numbers through my head, I can sometimes only spend another dollar or 2 at a bookstore for the same book found on Amazon. Go look for a book on Amazon and you can see what I am talking about. Unless you are looking for a very common book, which in that case at best it could be sold for 1 cent plus $3.95 S&H, you may pay just about the same price at a bookstore. As McArdle mentions, bookstores don’t come with the same environmental impacts as ordering a book online (shipping costs, cardboard, etc).

As for creative destruction, libraries are amazing. I get to volunteer once a week at one. I assisted a lady the other night on the phone who was looking for books and interactive DVDs for parenting and teaching sign to your child. She had the light bulb moment that I had a few months back: why do I need to go out and spend money on these books or DVDs when they are at the library, most of them free for me to use? I have gone on my Netflix and Amazon list and found a lot of movies and books that I want to check out and then seen that they are available at my local library. My point is this: will the avalanche known as creative destruction one day wipe out our free libraries?