The big music stores have long ago disappeared from my area. Music is still sold at Best Buy and Walmart, but I see relatively few shoppers in that department. Instead, people buy and pirate music online. We have one large Barnes & Noble store, and it seems busy enough in a university town, but can it last?
I think I am a realistic example of why printed books will die rapidly. I'm an elderly voracious reader, but infrequently long-form books, perhaps only a half dozen annually. I read news stories, columns and opinions mostly from my desktop PC, which means, the NY Times, WSJ, various technology and other news sites are my sources.
The Times story makes no mention of this massive Amazon competitive advantage. For me the choice is simple. Buy a device that provides me the the ability to buy nearly anything, rather than just reading material. It's the reason that I also bought a few shares of Amazon stock at the time I purchased my Kindle Fire.
In summary, Amazon will win this battle and the traditional print publishers need a different business model. Smart authors will not restrict themselves to books in print, at least not if they want my business.
"...Without Barnes & Noble, the publishers’ marketing proposition crumbles. The idea that publishers can spot, mold and publicize new talent, then get someone to buy books at prices that actually makes economic sense, suddenly seems a reach. Marketing books via Twitter, and relying on reviews, advertising and perhaps an appearance on the “Today” show doesn’t sound like a winning plan.
What publishers count on from bookstores is the browsing effect. Surveys indicate that only a third of the people who step into a bookstore and walk out with a book actually arrived with the specific desire to buy one..."