29 March 2010

eBooks, Amazon and Living in Interesting Times--Book Clubs

The book world is a'changing. There's a lot of froth and splatter at the moment, but under it there's a powerful current of change. I'm not an industry insider, and so, not informed enough to bet which way the publishing and book selling (linked but not same-same) industries will develop. There are discussions all over the net. This one at Mobylives sparked this post.

Amazon changed millions of people's book buying habits. It benefited from people's new expectations of price, availability and community (reviews and discussions). In fact, it helped develop them. Now the question is whether these expectations have leapt beyond Amazon's control. It has competitors and it has other members of its book supply chain looking to alter the balance of power (and profit).

I said I wasn't going to risk a bet on the future of the book world. I guess I lied. As I wrote this post an idea popped into my head. The next logical step (given that the world is circular) is the return of Book Clubs. A book seller who can leverage customer data to offer tightly focussed book clubs will cash in on the confusing avalanche of available books. If they get the recommendations and community right, people will happily fork over money for a monthly (fortnightly) esend of books.

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