Book is Dead

I’m reading Amanda Lang‘s Power of Why. It’s about letting go of preconceived notions, so that we can solve problems effectively. It occurred to me that anyone holding on to the old model of print books is not harnessing the power of why.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: book, like God, is dead. Book publishing the traditional way, that is. For a similar case study, look no further than Blockbuster. Instead of asking themselves why customers were leaving and how the business could get in on electronic content delivery, Blockbuster kept sinking cash into real estate, while Netflix won the battle.

Book publishers may not be sinking money into real estate, but they are sinking money into co-op sales, point-of-sale displays, and premium shelf space. Meanwhile, Amazon is delivering electronic content that is eating into print sales. Why? Because electronic delivery is cheap and convenient for the consumer.

For an excellent example of innovative thinking, look no further than Toronto’s own Preloved. If you love clothes and love re-purposing, then you’ll love Preloved’s funky fashion created from used clothing. It used to be that no cool clothes were offered online; finding hip duds meant a trip to somewhere like Queen St. West in T dot. Owner Julia Grieve loved having a store presence and found herself opening more locations until she got it: let the big companies sink money into real estate and distribution. She stopped the retail madness and went wholesale and online. I’ve seen Preloved goods at Roots and other retailers around the city. Grieve says it was difficult at first to revamp the business, but sales are estimated at $2 million this year.

That’s the power of asking why. Why are we doing it this way? Can we do it a different way? A better way? Amanda Lang would be proud.


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