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- Here’s how Amazon self-destructs
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re the amazon self destruct Idea. I suspect the long term model is just a step further from where Amazon is today (a lot of books can be gotten in physical or Kindle form). Why not in the future, move to print on demand where no physical inventory is kept (I know of one classical music online CD store that does this). Amazon would present you with a menu for a book, that has the read on reader or print on demand version. (Likley these would not be hard bound but spiral bound but...) Then if the licensing were set up right one could also envision a single location book store with no inventory, several browsing stations to let one hunt, and then an on demand printer. (likely would grow out of a print shop imagine the UPS store in the book business for example).
Back in the old days even the big box stores did not have all of books in print in inventory, I recall back when it took 6 weeks to get a special order book.
I agree that the issue of how people find out about books is Amazon's Achilles heel. I rarely, if ever, find out about a book from Amazon. Their suggestions, at least in my case, are often attempts to sell me versions of books or CDs that I already own; once in a while, it will be a title by an author/artist I already know, or something by another famous author/artist. So to learn of new authors or artists, I must rely on other sources. One of those sources, historically, has been the bookstore, whether a local place or a Barnes and Noble (it never was Borders, since they never opened a store in my area). I am fortunate to have local bookstores to fall back on,* but Barnes and Noble has been my main source. I'll still have referrals from friends and bloggers, but that just pushes the problem one step back: how do they hear about it?
*Coincidentally, as I was typing this comment I got an e-mail from a local bookstore with the subject line "Why I'm not going to complain about Amazon anymore".
Nah. Online is a MUCH better way of finding good books than roaming around a bookstore picking things up at random. Amazon just doesn't do it well... yet.