FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

April 15, 2011 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on April 15, 2011 - and, a little later, on http://fyifrance.blogspot.com/, and at Facebook-Jack Kessler's Wall-http://tinyurl.com/4fz5ty4

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3.00 FYI France: Ejournal and archive

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Here this file is one of a number made available - hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe - as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45, payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. And you can pay via PayPal, on the FYI France homepage:

http://www.fyifrance.com/indexa.html

Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us

 

--oOo--

 

Indie Bookstores Fight Back

 

Our own favorite bookstore here in Noe Valley USA just closed -- finally and for good -- and I have nearly 200 digital "ebooks" stored somewhere out in my Amazon Internet "cloud", now...

The French approach: somewhat similar, somewhat by contrast --

"Indies online : coming to your home"
By Frédérique Roussel, "Libraires en ligne : ça arrive près de chez vous", in Libération, 4 avril

[tr. JK, excerpts:]

URL for the Libération article : http://www.ecrans.fr/Libraires-en-ligne-ca-arrive-pres,12419.html

URL for 1001Libraires.com : http://www.1001Libraires.com

 

--oOo--

 

Note: speed kills...

The race is not always to the swift, sometimes it is to the wise...

France still has some indie booksellers, for example... In California, where I write this, indie bookstores are closing, in large numbers and rapidly. As I said initially, here, one of my own favorite "locals" disappeared just the other day.

In fact a youthful dream which I and my wife long cherished, to occupy and amuse our old age -- the management of an indie bookstore ourselves -- appears to be vanishing, in the USA. More likely nowadays we'd have to found and run herd on our own digital distribution empire, the way Jeff Bezos has, and worry more about profit-and-loss and cloud computing and gigantic server arrays and distribution centers, than about "children's rooms" and "poetry sections", and "small press" and "remainders", and whether to serve coffee and what to do about coffee spills, as we once imagined.

There still are some exceptions left in the USA, though. One store's loss is another's gain, perhaps...

Just around the corner from the indie bookstore here which closed, is another which appears to be doing fabulously well, and now may do even better. Perhaps this is, then, as the economists nearly always say, simply a consolidation & realignment, and not really a paradigm shift.

Perhaps there is opportunity in all of this, that is, for the few who remain: for a small indie bookstore which can find its own market niche, and which "gets" the Internet and digital, and which can figure out how to make money itself from e-books: a small indie which can find and understand new forms of publication, perhaps -- smaller distribution activities, maybe -- small press, local press, local news, academic publishing -- healthy arenas from which the big online retailers could not squeeze their "economies of scale", but which nevertheless could support a small shop and online service, or a few of them.

So many people people are writing and publishing now : everyone, now, everywhere, has a desktop or/and a laptop or/and a palmtop or/and particularly a mobile -- information overload quickly is becoming information inundation, a flood.

So in all of that there are new opportunities for people specialized in controlling or at least channeling such floods: for librarians and libraries, for indie booksellers and indie bookstores -- helped greatly, perhaps, by online services such as 1001libraires.com. As a customer, at least, I gladly would give much to find the camaraderie, and warmth, and easychairs and accompanying coffee and cookies, of the bookstores of my childhood, amid the so-far industrialized e-publishing of today.

They're getting there, with Amazon's "cloud", and Starbucks' "Mobile Card" barcode coffee purchasing, and everyone's Inter-networking of everything. But they're not there yet.

It seems to me too that the long-predicted "decentralization" direction of digital is reversing now, in fact, providing new bookstore opportunities. For some years we have had telecommuting and teleworking opportunites, provided by The Digital, moving many of us to suburbs and small towns and into extensive travel even overseas. Now, though, people appear to want again to live in, and spend more of their personal and professional time in, the Central City. Perhaps we've so automated the back office and routine functions of so much, using our new digital technologies so well, as firms like Amazon and Starbucks have, that we're now free once more to seek real face-time with one another: to live in the center of Big Cities where our friends are, to spend hours lounging around with those friends in city parks, and coffee shops, and in user-friendly bookstores again.

That is what the 20-somethings do now increasingly in San Francisco, anyway: the kids who work for Google and Facebook and Apple and the others -- those firms' large home offices are located down the bay from here, in Silicon Valley -- but their employees all live up here in San Francisco, where there is truly "social" life for them. They may take the GoogleBus down to Mountain View when they have to: the giant vehicles run every 15 minutes in the mornings from Noe Valley, a 45-minute ride, and legend says they have one plug for wifi and another for caffeine, at each seat on-board... But more and more of their work week is spent at and around home where their friends are, now, here in the city. This also is true perhaps, and perhaps increasingly as well, in Manhattan, in central London, in central Paris, all of which are inter-connected Global Cities -- per Saskia Sassen's and other urbanologists' musings about this -- seeing a renaissance of central city property values and services now. So maybe there is simply a new and increasing need, for a new kind of "bookstore", in such places.

In the meantime, then, we all wrestle now with e-text:

So perhaps it's just nostalgia -- my longing for the old user-very-friendly bookshops in which I used to spend happy afternoons -- or perhaps it's the cusp of the newest wave, and the very latest changes. As the commentators are saying about Fukushima Dai-Ichi's new wave unknowns too, now, and about 1001libraire.com, we'll know in 10 years.

Happy reading.

 

Jack Kessler, kessler@well.com

--oOo--

 

 

--hjlm--

 

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M. Eiffel

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Document maintained by: Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us
Last update: April 19, 2011