With an older generation of readers gradually leaving us and a new generation of non-readers coming into the fold is it time to consider that books are on their way out both for collectors and readers?
Clearly they will always be with us and remain popular to some extent, but will they continue to hold the lure they once did.
I believe not and here are some of the reasons why:
The amount of information on the internet has rendered many non-fiction and reference books all but useless. I myself have always been a fan of large, quality dictionaries but cannot remember when I last looked at one!
Huge swathes of subjects that were once popular with readers and collectors now lay gathering dust in secondhand bookshops, unwanted at any price. Millions of them now reside on various internet sites as cheap as a penny or 1c each, again still nobody wants them.
A new generation that has not grown up with books now have many more sources of entertainment and education, most of them requiring less effort from the consumer than reading.
Speaking as someone who has been in business selling secondhand books, the trends have been dramatic. General mid-range collectable books, say £10 to £35 now seem all but un-sellable.
I have one private website which can sell such books but it is geared to mystery fiction. When I try to sell anything outside that genre on other venues it proves to be both pointless and unviable on a business level.
There is, it has to be said, oversupply in the market. The number of people selling on the internet as risen hugely whilst the rise in buyers is very modest. When Amazon’s sales are factored out they are in fact surprisingly low.
Whatever the reasons there is undoubtedly a general malaise in the market, I am only grateful that I no longer need to look at selling books for a living giving the current state of the market.
I can usually sell £1,000+ books instantly but try selling something for £15, even if it’s signed !!!
I believe it all boils down to a general lack of interest in books, people no longer want them in their houses etc.
Of the 1,000s of people visiting this site and reading my ramblings every week I wonder how many of you read, collect or have abandoned either or both.