Tag Archive for borders

Alas, Poor Borders

The Borders bookstore chain is in trouble, and it’s my fault.

At least, it’s the fault of people like me who have turned to Amazon for book purchases, or who’ve gone digital and just shop on the Kindle. They’ve faced rumors of bankruptcy for years, and more recently they’ve had executives resign, they’ve faced complaints about slow payments from publishers, they’ve closed warehouses, and just last week Diamond, the single, largest comics distributor, announced they will be halting shipments to Borders. Their e-readers haven’t gained near the traction the Kindle and the Nook have, and redesigning stores to make a bigger push for toys and games hasn’t made much of a difference.

Which is too bad, because I still enjoy shopping there. Hell, the kids love shopping there. They’ll browse their favorite sections all day if we let them.

The Midget Loitering

Apparently their comics rack is pretty cool, too.

It’s a lot easier for them to shop physical books because they rely on covers to catch their eye even more than we do, and the two younger ones like to flip through the interior illustrations. They also like the instant gratification, and more often than not they’ll be reading their books on the way to the cash register. I can’t even begin to count how many times they almost crashed headlong into another customer because they were just not paying attention.

The only section I still have to browse that way is the martial arts books. If I’m going to consider a book on kata, for example, I’m going to read through a few examples and check out some pictures. Sure, Amazon enables “Look Inside!” on a lot of their books to make browsing easier, but it’s just not the same. This is especially true when I don’t know what I’m looking for. I’ll flip through several books until something looks interesting, and if Borders happened to send me a big discount coupon or some free bonus bucks, I’ll buy it.

If not, I do what I did today: fire up the Amazon app on my cell phone and check out their pricing. More often than not, the book’s available at a discount, and with the free shipping on my Prime account and not having to pay taxes, I’d come out well ahead by clicking that 1-Click button. Today I didn’t even do that, I just added the books to my Wish List to buy later.

Like I sad, I’m responsible for their going out of business. I’d love to support them, but right now the wallet’s contents (or lack thereof) are more important.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Digital Craze

The digital publishing market has just exploded over the last couple of months. I’ve hardly worn the newness off my iPad and now we’ve got Barnes & Noble entering the e-reading app fray, Borders about to drop their Kobo ereader (which Wired is already calling a possible Kindle killer), and even a new device called the enTourage eDGe (their ridiculous use of caps) that looks something like a Kindle strapped to an iPad.

It doesn’t stop there. Amazon may keep their sales figures quiet, but it’s clear they’re enjoying a fair amount of success and it was only a matter of time before Barnes & Noble responded with their own e-publishing arm. Realistically they’re more digital distributor than digital publisher (individual authors and small presses like Evileye are technically the publishers), but that line gets fuzzier when they sign exclusive authors.

Now I wonder how long before Barnes & Noble — maybe even Borders — jump into the POD market, too. It appears Amazon will be the first with an official Android reading app, though, and as the first to understand the store is the real killer feature, they’re just going to keep pushing the envelope. You don’t stay the leader by waiting to see what the other guy is going to do next.

Which reminds me of the Sony Digital Reader. There are several ideological and some technical advantages to being open, but it just doesn’t have the convenience of Amazon’s WhisperSync. Sure, my wife’s a bit bummed she can’t loan a book to her mother or her sister, but to her it’s hardly even a nuisance as it’s far outweighed by the system’s advantages. (It also doesn’t help that, in my experience, the Sony reader is slower on refreshes and somewhat awkward to navigate.)

This eDGe thing is technically interesting, though it strikes me as more prototype than product at the moment. Here’s their intro video:

They obviously have the best of both worlds in mind. However, why do I care about being able to scribble on the eInk display if I’ve got the tablet right next to it? In watching the usage, it doesn’t appear it has an accelerometer, and the interface seems slow compared to the iPad’s (which to me suggests it will be underpowered). For my taste, a touchscreen has to be instantly responsive to be worthwhile (a test the Nook also failed). Ommus called it ugly, but what really bothers me is you can’t use a simple protective sleeve on it and hope to flip it open, and when it is flipped so the screens are back-to-back, you’re always going to have one screen face-down when you put it down. How rugged are the surfaces of their screens?

I don’t know. I’m sure this is more subjective opinion than objective, but I really don’t see the need to carry a two-in-one device. I’d be content to carry one device that nails it’s job than something that, for the moment at least, may be playing catch-up in two categories. Battery life and outdoor reading are the only real advantages of eInk, and the iPad’s battery life is long enough to make the eInk advantage negligible. So now I’m paying the same price for what may be an inferior device just so I can read outside? No, probably not.

I’m sure there are more in development, and we have yet to see what some of the iPad competitors will bring to the table. Anything with a reading app — be it Kindle, B&N eReader, or something like Stanza — is now an e-reading device. Battery life is getting longer, processors are getting smaller and faster, storage is getting cheaper (or is effectively replaced by cloud storage in Kindle’s case), and displays won’t be far behind.

We can call it a craze for now, but I’m thinking soon this will be the status quo. I still don’t believe they’ll replace paper anytime soon, but I do see a future where paper books become more about collectibility and nostalgia. They’ll be to the next generation what vinyl records are to us.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Now Invading Borders

Mr Ommus from Evileye Books has just learned The Pack: Winter Kill is now showing up in the Borders catalog! Stop in at your local Borders store and you’ll be able to order my book.

Very, very cool. Now all we need is their buyers to notice us and start stocking the book on the shelves.

You Know You Want It

You know you want it.

That gives you three ways to get our hot little hands on my cool little book: Amazon; Barnes & Noble online; and via special order in stores. If you are going to order through a store, be sure to grab a copy of our retailer order sheet and the clerk should have all the information needed to place your order.

The online price is a few dollars below cover at the moment, but you’re probably going to give that back in shipping fees unless you’re ordering a few books at a time or you have an Amazon Prime account. You can also take comfort in knowing your in-store order is going to be a huge help to Evileye and I; the more in-store orders, the more likely it is a buyer will notice those orders and take a closer look at the book.

Then you’ll find it that much easier to get a hold of book 2 later this year!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Shaking Up the Reading

My reading habits have been as poor as my writing habits lately.

I think part of the problem is I’ve been reading a few books where nothing happens. Sure, they’re good books, and they’re horror books, but there are several pages at a time where nothing happens. Solid writing, great atmosphere, a dash of “look at this creepy stuff!”, but no real action. It’s really starting to bother me.

As such I’ve strayed once again into the suspense/mystery section of my local Borders. Doing so was a good diversion a year or so ago, and so far it’s headed that same direction as I’ve read a lot more in the past two weeks than I have the previous two months.

I started with Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski. Brian mentioned the guy, I browsed the synopsis for Severance Package, and I decided it was right up my alley. Sure enough, I burned through it in no time. The plot is fairly simple, and it the action rolls right along from the first page to the last. The occasional humor is a nice bonus. I’ve now got his books The Blonde and The Wheelman sitting on the nightstand, waiting to be read.

Right now I’m halfway through Brimstone by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Everything I’ve heard about Preston & Child suggests they’re mystery/thriller writers with a horror/supernatural bend, and Brimstone definitely fits the mold. I can do without all the references to previous books in the series, and I think the main character, Aloysius Pendergast, is a stuck-up douche, but I like where the story is going and I can relate to the other main character (or is it sidekick?), Vincent D’Agosta, much better. The prose is very straightforward and leads the reader through at a good clip.

It’s good to be hooked on reading again.

Even better, they’ve both given my fingers the itch to be at the keyboard, working my own prose.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.