Trying My Best to Embrace Change

Just last weekend, my husband and I were walking around a Borders bookstore. This particular Borders is a very large bookstore that is in a prime location. It offers a great selection of books and is only a few years old. When we were there, I told my husband that it upsets me to see brick and mortar bookstores suffering in business due to the electronic reader's growing popularity and people ordering books on-line from Amazon, one of the largest book retailers.

Tonight on the news, I was surprised to learn that Borders, the 40-year-old retail chain that helped define the age of the book superstore, filed for bankruptcy. I didn't expect the large bookstores to begin closing so soon! I just shook my head and wondered who and what would be affected next.

Most people are now well aware of the book retailing industry's challenges. Bookstores have undergone a significant transformation in the last few years and have gradually been losing their prominence. Unfortunately, we can make a pretty good prediction about the future trend of books.

Now don't get me wrong. I am a loyal Amazon customer. This is an extremely busy season of my life right now, and I appreciate the convenience of shopping from home. I am very grateful I do not have to load up the diaper bags and double stroller in between my two babies' nap and feeding times while homeschooling my older three children to make a book purchase. That's a lot of work!

Last summer, E-books hit the mainstream and for the first time, they consistently outsold paperbacks. The CEO of Amazon said that milestone came sooner than they expected.

Then last month, Amazon revealed that E-books outsold hard cover books. According to a recent report from the Yankee Group, it is estimated that the market will almost double every year until 2014 with popular electronic readers, such as the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook.

As an author/publisher, I should be ecstatic. In the future, there may be no more shipping books, replacing damaged books, refunding returns, and paying large costs upfront for printing. There should also be larger profit margins, which is wonderful news for all authors. (The profit margin is so low for most authors that you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you.)

As a former public school teacher and an advocate of eco-friendly initiatives, I am thankful that schools are beginning to transition to becoming paperless in most subject areas. Schools are one of the largest contributors to landfills. Every few years, all the textbooks from every public school in our nation must be replaced with updated editions. This creates too much waste- solid waste and a waste of taxpayer's money.

Not only will landfills grow at a less alarming rate, but fewer trees will be cut down as the need for paper diminishes. The world’s forests will continue to grow while providing cleaner air.

In addition, the majority of E-readers weigh just over 10 ounces and can hold over 1,500 books. By comparison, the average textbook can weigh several pounds. I am certain high school and college students will gladly welcome E-readers in place of toting heavy backpacks on their shoulders.

There are also many other benefits of using E-readers, such as less physical storage space needed, the instant downloading of books, and the much lower costs (after purchasing the electronic device). A person can now have a number of books at his disposal anywhere he goes. Another bonus is that the font size can be changed, which aids in reducing eye strain.

As a mother and an avid reader, I am still having a hard time embracing this new technology even with all the advantages mentioned above. I enjoy watching my little ones anxiously choose a book to read from the bookshelves in our home and from our local library. I can't imagine cuddling with my children to read a bedtime story from an electronic reading device. Call me traditional but I like to hold a real book and turn real pages.

I like to wrap up books for special rewards and birthday gifts for my children. Do I wrap the receipt of an E-book order? It's just not the same.

The only thing constant in life is change.
(And God's love)