Sunday, April 17, 2011


"Smoke is in the air now
It's been spreading just like wild-fire all over town
Everybody wants to get in on the latest thing
Going down to the bookstore - burn that mother down
Somebody has to do what's right
Fahrenheit four fifty-one
Burning black and white "


As Borders stores start closing across America, I can't help but wonder if the same thing that has happened to the music industry is happening to the book industry.

Namely, the replacement of the physical product with a digital product.

As the iPod killed the CD, will the reader kill the book?

Magazines and newspapers are hurting, and now bookstores are starting to feel the pinch.I'm curious how the writers who are participating in the A to Z blogfest feel about this.

As you know, I am very much against the idea of all-digital music, and a lot of iPod owners don't seem to get why.

I like the physican product-the packaging, the booklet.

I feel the same way about books-there's something about feeling the paper that a reader can't give me.

Don't get me wrong-iPods and readers have their value when it comes to portability.

But how would this group, as writers, feel if the only outlet for your words was digital?

I'd be interested in your thoughts.


  1. Hello, DiscConnected. I'm not participating in the A to Z; I can barely post a couple of times a week as it is!!
    I would, however, love to comment. I, too, miss those days of running home from the record store and jumping on my bed upon starting the record player. I would love to pour over the album cover and hopefully the record sleeve which would contain the lyrics as I learned cool new songs.
    Although CDs were much smaller, there was usually still something to hold and study, so it is sad that all we get is the digital these days. On the flip side, the digital gives such superior quality that I'm hearing stuff from the old songs that I'd never heard before...
    As an author, I suppose I'm just happy that people can read my words and enjoy them - no matter how they are doing it.
    Thanks for asking.


  2. Interesting Jimmy-

    Thanks for dropping by.

    I wonder if you are downloading the audiophile quality. Here's why I ask.

    A CD actually has less fidelity than a vinyl record. It may not be audible to the average ear, but sound is a wave, and CD's sample that wave. They simply do not get the whole thing.

    Of course, the trade-off is the lack of surface noise, which may be why you hear things you did not hear on the vinyl.

    The average download (.mp3) has even less fidelity-they take a CD audio file and compress it, leaving out the highs and lows. There was a great article in Rolling Stone on this a couple of years ago. Their test case was the Led Zeppelin "Mothership" compilation" and I could hear what they were talking about-my vinyl copy of LZII from forty years ago sounds better.

    I have not experimented with the audiophile downloads-I still buy the physical product, so maybe there'd be a better result there.

    So are you all digital? If so, you may find these posts I did of interest:


  3. Jimmy-

    The other dynamic with me is that I am a collector, which obviously leads to a preference for the physical product.

    Yesterday (Record Store Day 2011) I stood in line to buy colored vinyl copies of Tom Petty's first two albums. I still have my original vinyl copies, and bought the CD's three times (original release and the two remasters).

    Everyone around me in line agreed that our purchases that day were probably going to be put on a shelf and never played. In my case, they will remain on that shelf until I move or die, at which point this whole collection will probably be my nephew's problem.

    However you listen to it, I am glad to see you supporting new music!


  4. Hi, I have a mixed allegiance. I have always loved books but have always had limited room to store them. Right now I am equally happy reading a physical book and reading an ebook on my Kindle or iPad. They can hold so much more than my bookcase. Take heart, though. Physical books aren't going away soon.

    I'm stopping by on the A-Z Challenge. Please visit my blog, where my word of the day is Osculation.

  5. Argh. I tried to leave a comment but the darned thing disappeared. Bottom line: I love my Kindle and physical books equally.

    I'm stopping by on the A-Z Challenge. Please visit my blog, where my word of the day is Osculation.

  6. Bob-

    I hear ya on the storage issue-I have 15,000 compact discs.

    Until recently, I had pretty much every book I'd ever owned. My mother always said "keep books forever." And I did.

    A friend of mine keeps hers because she'll read them when she gets older. I guess she thinks there won't be new books written in the future.

    I look at books like movies-I love them, but once read (or watched, in the movie's case) I simply do not have the time to go back and revisit them. So now I donate them to Goodwill.

    I do see the value of a reader for portability-I just don't think I'd ever use it around the house.


  7. I prefer the physical, especially as I collect hardback books. However, after a year with the iPad, I confess - I like the ease of eBooks. And yes, I can now see books following the path of music - downloads rather than physical items.

  8. Alex-

    I see it a little more readily with books, but like it less.

    Yet there is still a huge retail market for movies. I don't get it.

    If you're not on Dream Theater's mailing list, check out their site for updates on their search for a drummer:


  9. I'm old school as far as having the newest electronic whizz bang item. I bought into Quadro-phonic and Betamax back in the day, that might have something to do with it. But to get back to your original thought, I had the same one on e-readers. It's not so much that the new gadgets aren't useful it's the pirating of music, books, or movies, and how that has taken a toll on such industries. I prefer the CD to vinyl for sound quality, but prefer the older album covers for the art work. Media players are great for walking and stuff of that nature, but I don't want to listen to music on headphones all the time. I probably won't get a e-reader anytime soon. With a book you can take it with you anywhere, and if you drop it no biggie. But I can see where a new generation would enjoy it, particularly when it comes to moving or say someone like a doctor or lawyer that needs a huge library. But can publishers protect their copyrights from pirates and hackers, so far if you compare that to the music/movie industry, it will be a rocky road.