Shocker: Your iPad and Kindle are not killing the old fashioned book market

Apropos of nothing, here's a thought about the book industry.

I was watching BookTV on the weekend (yes, there are 12 of us in the country that actually watch stuff on C-Span's third channel).

They featured a tour of the offices of Simon and Schuster, a publishing firm slightly bigger than, but very similar to, my own company, Whitecaps Media ( Okay, not really that similar and a WHOLE LOT bigger!

One of the top people there made an interesting observation: He said that ebooks and online commerce were not killing the publishing industry and bookstores. The real problem and competition, he observed, was the increased demands on our free time.

The more I ponder it, the more true I think that is.

People still enjoy reading. Almost everyone I know, regardless of education level, enjoys reading.

But they also enjoy surfing the internet, watching Netflix, binge watching TV shows via download or DVD, participating in fantasy sports leagues, playing video games, spending time on social media, etc. None of those things were a factor in our lives until relatively recently.

I heard today that twenty years ago there were over 10,000 bookstores in America. There are now only 3,000, including all of Barnes and Noble's outlets. In Houston, there are only four independent bookstores. Yes, you heard that correctly. Four. That's one per million inhabitants.

So, there's definitely a problem. But I don't think it's ebooks or Amazon that are killing the bookstores. I think Netflix, the internet, etc., are more culpable than ebooks.