Physical book sales will decline at a compound annual rate of 5 percent. While e-book sales will rise during that same period, the increase won’t cover the revenue gap created by the decline in the physical book market. By 2014, the research note predicts, e-books will occupy some 13 percent of U.S. book publishing revenue, more than twice its current level.
That blows. But even before I read this, I read something else that very well may come to an end in this ever-changing publishing landscape, where print books are increasingly devalued.
Ever since 1983, when one of the earliest book cart drill teams formed in Virginia, teams have been sprouting up at libraries across the country, rehearsing synchronized routines and making occasional appearances at conferences, festivals, and parades.
Yeah, that's right. Librarians doing choreographed dance routines with book carts. Try doing THAT with your fancy e-books, Cory Doctorow!
What else will we lose before we put the brakes on this digitizing nightmare, I ask you?
But keeping the spirit of book cart-pushing performance alive has been no easy task. Recruitment and education are key. Deyermond concedes that the past two years have been tough. When there weren’t enough teams to field a real contest last year, she held a tutorial session instead.
That's Gerry Deyermond, whom you may know betters as "the book cart queen," sounding the alarm. This is how (print) books may go: not with a bang but a whimper, from a lonely librarian standing - or even slow-dancing - with an empty book cart.