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Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 3,935
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

Mercury_Glitch wrote: 

I don't think it'll be in the next few years, but I would say a time will come when we don't look toward decorative books as a means to reassure ourselves of the value of the professional seated opposite of us.

 

I'll still be expecting to see a diploma on the wall. I may not necessarily look for a shelf of books, but I'll notice what books they are. I always make a point of scanning what books are on an office shelf when I meet someone new.

 

I think, though, that you've only described part of the picture. What we buy for display in our personal space is important too. What books do you display prominently, and which are tucked away? I think the vast majority of books are bought to be read, but I think that how they'll look on a shelf ties in to some purchases. We may not be displaying the skulls of vanquished enemies in our doorways anymore (well, some of us), but we like to let people know what we've read. This is where the comparison to buggies falls apart. Riding a buggy long after motorcars had taken over did anything for one's image, whereas keeping hefty academic tomes on a shelf might.

 

There's another thread running discussing a survey of how reading has changed, and how people with devices are reading more. I think an interesting follow-on question would be what of those books read would they like to be associated with? Would you "put it on the shelf" alongside other books for display to let people know you've read it?

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,758
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?


bobstro wrote:

Mercury_Glitch wrote: 

I don't think it'll be in the next few years, but I would say a time will come when we don't look toward decorative books as a means to reassure ourselves of the value of the professional seated opposite of us.

 

I'll still be expecting to see a diploma on the wall. I may not necessarily look for a shelf of books, but I'll notice what books they are. I always make a point of scanning what books are on an office shelf when I meet someone new.

 

I think, though, that you've only described part of the picture. What we buy for display in our personal space is important too. What books do you display prominently, and which are tucked away? I think the vast majority of books are bought to be read, but I think that how they'll look on a shelf ties in to some purchases. We may not be displaying the skulls of vanquished enemies in our doorways anymore (well, some of us), but we like to let people know what we've read. This is where the comparison to buggies falls apart. Riding a buggy long after motorcars had taken over did anything for one's image, whereas keeping hefty academic tomes on a shelf might.

 

There's another thread running discussing a survey of how reading has changed, and how people with devices are reading more. I think an interesting follow-on question would be what of those books read would they like to be associated with? Would you "put it on the shelf" alongside other books for display to let people know you've read it?

 

 


Do people, like, regular people, actually buy books so people will know (or think) they've read them?  I just assumed that folks without overgrown egos or insecurity issues would not do this.  Maybe it's just me that doesn't do that... :smileyindifferent:

 

The books I put on my shelves fall into five categories - functional (books I need to access regularly, such as style guides or cookbooks), books that I've had signed by authors I've met, books that I want to have signed (these are usually favorite books that I also re-read), books that are downright pretty (I love the artwork, either on the cover or also inside), or books I feel sentimental about (expired travel guides with notes and such from a trip, books from my childhood, etc).  I also keep a stack of unread ARCs that, once read, I'll likely give away.  I don't keep classics on my shelves unless I've found a particularly attractive copy and I loved the book.  And since I buy almost entirely in ebook first, what ends up on my shelves are the books I've loved so dearly that I need to be able to hold them and touch them, because it makes them more real.

 

Frankly, if someone's coming into my home who's going to judge me by what they believe I've read, they're probably not the kind of person that's going to get invited back again.

Distinguished Bibliophile
MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,214
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

Do people, like, regular people, actually buy books so people will know (or think) they've read them?

 

I have actually run into this frequently in business.  I frequently go into someone's office and they have Deming, Covey, an ancient Chinese military write whose name they can't remotely pronounce, and books about moving cheese, all prominently displayed so a visitor can't miss them.

 

It has also been my experience that the best managers exercise the principles in these books without needing to show them off.  Those who feel the need to show them off tend not to be so good at putting them into practice.

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 3,935
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

keriflur wrote:
Do people, like, regular people, actually buy books so people will know (or think) they've read them?  I just assumed that folks without overgrown egos or insecurity issues would not do this.  Maybe it's just me that doesn't do that...
I do think people display books differently than they might read them. Recall the survey from not-to-long-ago indicating that there are distinctly different patterns between ebooks and paper books being read by the same readers. Being seen with the cover was one factor cited. Not necessarily buying them "just to be seen", but having bought them, displaying them more prominently. You can call it something else, but that's essentially what it comes down to.

 

The books I put on my shelves fall into five categories - functional (books I need to access regularly, such as style guides or cookbooks), books that I've had signed by authors I've met, books that I want to have signed (these are usually favorite books that I also re-read), books that are downright pretty (I love the artwork, either on the cover or also inside), or books I feel sentimental about (expired travel guides with notes and such from a trip, books from my childhood, etc). 

 

And where exactly do you (hypotethetically, of course) put something like Naughty Nurses or 50 Shades? Or Nancy Drew or UFO Conspiracies any other guilty pleasure reading? I'm far more likely to buy a title as an ebook if I view it as of use for a limited period (e.g. technical books, pure entertainment, passing fad). If it's a book that has more value, I may buy a hardcopy.

 

I also keep a stack of unread ARCs that, once read, I'll likely give away.  I don't keep classics on my shelves unless I've found a particularly attractive copy and I loved the book.  And since I buy almost entirely in ebook first, what ends up on my shelves are the books I've loved so dearly that I need to be able to hold them and touch them, because it makes them more real.

 

I think you're using more "correct" terminology, but "more real" sure sounds like the same thing to me. You identify with it on some level related to who you want to be. I tend to have a sense of humor, so I put anything else in the "I'll read it, but don't want to be caught reading it" pile. I include Dresden Files in that category, for example. I enjoyed it (briefly). There's nothing wrong with it. I just don't want to be the "paranormal book" guy at work. You can call your keeper pile the "really important literature" collection if it makes you feel better, but is it EVERYTHING you read in that pile? If not, that's the distinction I'm talking about.

 

(Lest anybody get all buzzkill and judgemental, I don't care. Credibility matters in my line of work.)

 

Frankly, if someone's coming into my home who's going to judge me by what they believe I've read, they're probably not the kind of person that's going to get invited back again.

 

Sure, but do you believe in first impressions? If you're having your writing friends over, are you going to leave the latest dross out? OK, sure. If you want to take the stance that you only read high quality material that you're proud to be associated with, go ahead. Just let us know if you see YA or UFO literature on the shelves alongside your doctor's medical books!

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bobstro
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Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

[ Edited ]
MacMcK1957 wrote:
[...] I have actually run into this frequently in business.  I frequently go into someone's office and they have Deming, Covey, an ancient Chinese military write whose name they can't remotely pronounce, and books about moving cheese, all prominently displayed so a visitor can't miss them.
Good list. :smileyhappy: For techies, I'll usually see a 15 year old O'Reilly book or two.
[...] It has also been my experience that the best managers exercise the principles in these books without needing to show them off.  Those who feel the need to show them off tend not to be so good at putting them into practice.
Ah, but the point I'm trying to make is that those same people probably don't have Catching Fire on the shelf either. I generally find that what people have on the shelf does tell you something about them, if only who they want to be.
Before too much pop psychology starts being applied here, let me give you an example from my shelf. At one of the last Borders stores standing, I spotted a beautifully faux-leather bound, gold edged tome with a silk ribbon bookmark. At first glance, sitting prominently on my desk, it looks like a bible. It's actually a limited edition of the Hitchiker's series. I own the paper backs, but they're worn and mismatched. This edition spoke to my sense of humor.  I've marked the page listing one of the best laugh-out-loud passages I've encountered in my life. Most people chuckle once they realize what it is.
All I'm saying is that "displayability" ties into purchasing decisions, folks. Not trying to start a holy war.
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MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,214
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

It's very possible those same people also have bookshelves at home with Finnegan's Wake and War and Peace prominently displayed, and they haven't read them, either.

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keriflur
Posts: 6,758
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?


bobstro wrote:
And where exactly do you (hypotethetically, of course) put something like Naughty Nurses or 50 Shades? Or Nancy Drew or UFO Conspiracies any other guilty pleasure reading? I'm far more likely to buy a title as an ebook if I view it as of use for a limited period (e.g. technical books, pure entertainment, passing fad). If it's a book that has more value, I may buy a hardcopy.

As I mentioned above, I buy everything (outside of the "functional" category) in ebook first, so there's no reason to buy a physical book if I don't love it.  Books I like, even books I like a lot, I just keep on my nook/computer/cloud/backup drive.

 


bobstro wrote:
keriflur wrote:
I also keep a stack of unread ARCs that, once read, I'll likely give away.  I don't keep classics on my shelves unless I've found a particularly attractive copy and I loved the book.  And since I buy almost entirely in ebook first, what ends up on my shelves are the books I've loved so dearly that I need to be able to hold them and touch them, because it makes them more real.

 

I think you're using more "correct" terminology, but "more real" sure sounds like the same thing to me. You identify with it on some level related to who you want to be.


Nope, not what I meant at all.  I meant that having a phyiscal copy makes the story feel more real, more tangible.  Not anything with who I want to be, or who I want others to see me as.

 


bobstro wrote:

(Lest anybody get all buzzkill and judgemental, I don't care. Credibility matters in my line of work.)


I'm a consultant, nothing matters more than credibility for me.  I don't bring my life to the office.  I don't keep books at my desk (well, I have a couple coding books, but I keep them in a drawer).  I've got no problem telling people I read and write YA, and if they choose to make assumptions about what that means about my work, then they're in for a big surprise.  Frankly they should pay more attention to the fact that I used to be a New Yorker, as that's got a lot more to do with how I run meetings and what expections I have for my team members.

 


bobstro wrote:
keriflur wrote:

Frankly, if someone's coming into my home who's going to judge me by what they believe I've read, they're probably not the kind of person that's going to get invited back again.

 

Sure, but do you believe in first impressions? If you're having your writing friends over, are you going to leave the latest dross out? OK, sure. If you want to take the stance that you only read high quality material that you're proud to be associated with, go ahead. Just let us know if you see YA or UFO literature on the shelves alongside your doctor's medical books!


I don't invite strangers to my home, so... Anyone coming in the door already knows either my husband or me, and already has some impressions.  I don't like judgy people, so, like I said, those folks won't be invited back.  And no, when I have writer friends at my house, I don't leave the latest anything out.  In fact, when I have people over, I don't do anything other than make sure we've got drinks and snacks in the house, and maybe a touch-up on the cleaning (tho hubby is a clean-freak, so the house is usually spotless).

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keriflur
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Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

[ Edited ]

bobstro wrote:
All I'm saying is that "displayability" ties into purchasing decisions, folks.

This I can agree with. I generally won't buy physical copies of ugly books.  I don't want to have to look at them all the time.

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 3,935
Registered: ‎01-01-2012

Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

[ Edited ]
MacMcK1957 wrote:

It's very possible those same people also have bookshelves at home with Finnegan's Wake and War and Peace prominently displayed, and they haven't read them, either.

I see a lot of Holy Bibles around that don't seem to have been read.
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deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Is This The Next Great Retail Turnaround?

Saying that new technology will, eventually, fall by the wayside might be true in a very strict sense.  After all, it might be replaced be an even newer technology.  The question is: how long will it take for any "new" technology to "fall by the wayside"? 

 

Examples of new technologies that have endured for a significant time are cars, airplanes, electric power, immunization, antibiotics, telephones, and even instant messaging (IM).  Isn't this correct?

 

Because of the way that journalists, politicians, and other important figures have embraced Twitter, I wouldn't expect it to fall by the wayside anytime soon, unless it is replaced by an even newer technology.  Facebook has become a significant part of business in the United States.  Almost every business of any significance has a Facebook page these days. 

 

I do not believe that e-books and e-readers will "fall by the wayside" in any near future that we can imagine.  Why would they?  This technology offers readers a level of convenience and economy that DTBs will never be able to match.  Electronic reading is, IMO, destined to eventually replace the old technology represented by DTBs printed with some version of movable type.

 

DTBs are like horses.  Many people still own them, but they don't ride them to work.