Submitted by Philip Jones on Thu, 11/10/2011 - Future ebook blog
I am particularly impressed with Daunt's understanding about the different directions reading might go, and how this will impact the bookseller. He is also pretty overt about following the Barnes & Noble Nook model, which given this week's news is intriguing. Rather like William Lynch, I do not think this is an executive who lacks ambition.
He also nails why we have such a problem with discoverability when you start to buy books digitally: "If only we could lock the experienced bookseller into the e-reader."
Please read the interview in full, but here is an excerpt below.
How will we read in the future?
I think we will be reading books in all sorts of ways and probably reading the same books in different ways. You may well own a digital reader and you may be reading a book on a number of different platforms as well as in the paper book format. I don’t think it’s a question of the paper book disappearing. I think the paper book will continue to hold its own in some sectors. However, compared with today, our reading will transfer to a much greater degree to the digital medium.
How hard will it be for books continue to compete with all the alternative forms of entertainment in the future?
You are talking to the parent of two teenage children, so I know this is a challenge, and it has always been a challenge, even when I was a child. If the media by which you choose to do a portion of your reading is some form of electronic device, whereby with one swipe you have your entry into many other forms of entertainment, then clearly the challenge is much greater than it was in my day when television was seen as the end of reading.
For Waterstone’s to continue to be successful you will need to have strong digital sales and strong sales in your brick and mortar outlets. How do you plan to achieve this?
We are the process of finalising the launch details of our own digital reader. The physical environment of our bookshops is very stimulating and that continues to have an enduring appeal to a certain part of the market. Our shops need to continue to earn their customer’s loyalty and be places of real recreation. People must choose to visit them because they love them. While customers are there, they will hopefully select our digital reader or tablet over someone else’s. Similar to the Barnes and Noble Nook proposition, we in the UK need to be making the same proposition to our customers. The UK is much smaller than the US and the density of our stores is much greater. About 87% of the UK population is within a 30-minute drive of a Waterstone’s and is able to visit one of our shops on a regular basis. So it is about us making the physical environment of our stores utterly compelling and therefore it is completely natural that you will use our devices to download your digital books.
The link to the full piece on The Bookseller is here; her previous piece with Carl Harvey, president of the American Association of School Librarians can also be found here.
C M Rubin has more than two decades of professional experience in development, marketing, and art direction for a diverse range of media businesses. She is the author of the widely read online series, The Global Search for Education, and is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland. Follow C M Rubin on Twitter: @cmrubin, Facebook.