Shifts

by Julie, having fun at Bouchercon

l love this month’s theme of paradigm shifts. When I was in grad school (many years ago) a professor used Swiss watchmakers as an example of a paradigm shift. For many years, Swiss watchmakers were the best of the best, and people flocked to buy their timepieces. Then technology changed, and the Japanese came up with a watch that kept perfect time and didn’t need to be wound. The business shifted in that direction. Does that mean the Swiss timepieces were no longer wonderful? No, of course not. But it does mean a shift in expectations changed what people wanted.

I found an old Blockbuster card while purging a junk drawer. Another paradigm shift. Not that long ago (relatively speaking) a trip to the video store was necessary to rent a VHS tape for weekend entertainment. DVDs and Netflix caused some changes, but stores held on. Then streaming took over, and the chain closed. People can still rent videos online, or borrow them from the library. But what was once a viable business concept ceased.

Books are another matter. Though audio books and ebooks have come on the scene, paper book sales have not stopped. For bookstores, there are fluctuations but stores persist. And independent bookstores seem to be having a resurgence.

Dear readers, I do not need to exclaim the wonders of reading. You all “get” it. While surveys proclaim that fewer people read, I have found anecdotally that those who do read are reading more. The pandemic has caused some people to lose focus, but not enough for a paradigm shift. I suspect there never will be that paradigm shift away from reading. Stories are too important. Delivery systems will continue to evolve, but books themselves? They’re here to stay.

This isn’t to say that there may not be paradigm shifts in the publishing industry. But what they’ll be? That’s a great topic of conversation.

Many of the Wickeds are at Bouchercon this week. This huge fan conference is a celebration of the mystery genre, and a wonderful way for us to meet readers, catch up with other writers, and celebrate all things book. This afternoon I’ll be on a panel, and on Friday we’ll be signing books. I’ll be signing Wreathing Havoc, though I’m preparing for The Plot Thickets release on October 25.

Speaking of The Plot Thickets, I’ve got a couple of more ARCs. Comment on this post, and I’ll choose two winners on Monday. And if you’re at Bouchercon, please make sure to say hello!

Readers, if you haven’t pre-ordered The Plot Thickets or other Wicked books, now’s the time to do it! Through the 9th (tomorrow) pre-sales are 25% off at Barnes & Noble. Here’s the link!

50 Thoughts

  1. Too funny, Julie. I took the same course with the watch illustration! Today, with so many innovations, we tend to “niche down.” For example, I helped a 80-plus-year-old gentleman create a large-print memoir intended strictly for his family and friends — a perfect use of Draft2Digital’s low-cost print division. However, a rapid character development book for writers’ reference was best developed as an ebook with hyperlinks to key sections and companion video. There’s something about reading a paperback that gives a level of joy unequaled by today’s gadgets — nothing beats a paperback mystery for enjoying a relaxing escape from all the current nonsense.

  2. I pulled a hardcover from my TBR stack yesterday and was surprised to realize that I would have preferred my e-reader or a paperback that I could easily grab and carry anywhere. A few years ago, I never would have thought that! Funny how a paradigm shift can happen so simply.
    BTW, I love the characters in the Garden Squad. I am looking forward to The Plot Thickets

  3. I still like holding a print book. Some authors only publish ebooks so I have a Kindle plus it’s easier when traveling and I have plenty on there to chose from. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  4. You can tell how much I enjoy a book by how many formats in which I own it. In a few cases, I’ve started with the audiobook, then added the eBook so I can switch back and forth, but then also bought the print version so I could easily page back through to find passages that I want to study and reread.
    Have fun at Bouchercon and tell everyone I said “Hi!”

  5. I may have a Blockbuster card around here too! Have so much fun in Minneapolis! Wish I could sneak down!

  6. I agree with you – seems like people who read are reading more! Barnes and Noble is always packed and our local library is busy, too. Facebook book groups I’m in certainly have lots of members! Maybe with all that’s going on in the world, we need more time away from reality? Have fun in Minneapolis!

  7. Have tons of fun at Bouchercon and then come back and tell us that wish we had been able to go all about it. 🙂

    Whatever technology or modern advancement takes place, I hope people are smart enough to keep reading. My personal choice, being the dinosaur I am, is still to read physical books. Whatever medium you read it’s a way to learn new things, travel to places you may never get to any other way, a way to let the imagination flourish, an escape from the daily pressures and worries or just to enjoy the author’s point of view as the story unfolds. There’s no other form of entertainment that I know of that is as portable, available year round, comes in so many varieties, is as cheap or that can enlighten as it entertains. It doesn’t need a special stadium, won’t affect your hearing from being too loud and you don’t have to fight the crowd or pay $20 for a bag of popcorn to enjoy. To me reading is PERFECT!

    Thank you for the marvelous chance to win an ARC of “The Plot Thickets”. On my TBR list and I can’t wait for the opportunity to dive in reading and then to leave reviews.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. Oh, I remember the weekly trips to Blockbuster. It was a family event. We took turns choosing. Of course, with my sibilings so much younger than me I never got to choose what I really wanted to see (I was in PG-13 land and they were still G).

    I find sometimes technology improves something and sometimes you really ought to stick with the old-fashioned.

  9. I definitely prefer a print book, but I’m finding more and more books are going to ebook only so I may have to try to get used to reading that way. Wish I could be at Bouchercon- this is probably the closest it will ever be to me!- but unfortunately can’t get off work. Have fun and come back and tell us all about it!

  10. I like holding a physical book. I like the feel and the smell. I have some ebooks but mostly because they aren’t available any other way or it’s an ebook or a hardback that’s in the upper twenty dollar range. I really hope that physical books never go away. I cherish my autographed copies of books. I sure hope I win one of the books but even if I don’t, I thank you for the chance.

  11. Hi! I wish I could be with you at Bouchercon. Instead, I am at home and will continue reading Musseled Out by Barbara Ross for a good portion of the day. Yes, I love my paper books! No audiobooks for me, and no ebooks. There is nothing like holding a solid book in my hands. Have a great day at Bouchercon!

  12. We had a Blockbuster right around the corner. I remember having to get there early or all the good movies would be gone.

  13. The world evolves. The trick is to evolve with it without falling for fads that don’t last. (Note: This comment is coming from the most inflexible man in the world. Please give me a week’s advanced notice before asking me to be spontaneous.)

    (And yes, I already have an ARC.)

  14. I love paperbacks. Hardcover books are much more difficult to read while lying down. I’m a sofa person and love to get comfy when I read. E-books are fine when a paperback isn’t available and for traveling. I used to have a suitcase full of books for a long vacation. Audio books are great for long car trips. Both hubby and I love to listen as we travel. The best is when we traveled through Arizona and New Mexico while listening to Tony (and Anne) Hillerman’s books. Once we were driving right through the area that the protagonist was driving through.

    Have fun at Bouchercon. Wish I was there with you.

    1. I remember well the day I decided to buy an e-reader. I was packing for a trip four day business trip to a small midwestern town. I threw in a book I was close to finishing. Then tossed in a non fiction book and a mystery. But what if I was in the mood for something other than the particular mystery so I tossed in a urban fantasy novel. As I stood there in front of my suitcase with a fifth book in my hand (for a four day trip), I decided to order my first e-reader.

  15. I prefer reading print books, but with a lot of books being published in hardcover or trade paperback these days, I find myself not purchasing a lot of books that I would like to read. Mass market paperbacks are at least affordable and I can always use glasses to read the book.

    Enjoy your time at Boucheron!

  16. Please be kind–rewind! Haven’t thought of that in quite a while!

    Like Annette, I know how much I enjoyed a book by the number of formats I own.

    I resisted a Kindle for quite a while. There is something about the weight of a book and the smell of the paper that is addicting. I’ve been known to buy a book simply because it felt good in my hand. Then bookstores began closing, and it’s impossible to hold an online retailer’s book to test out the “handfeel”. My husband bought me a Kindle to “try.” After some resistance, I fell in love and haven’t looked back. The size of my handbags has decreased too!

  17. I wish I could go. I hope you have a wonderful, safe time. I would love to receive an ARC. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  18. Hope you are having fun. Wish I could be there too. As for shifts, technology is always changing so anything is possible. I would never have imagined when I was a child that in the future there would be ebook readers that you could read books on. I still love the feel of a paperback, but I won’t deny that ebooks sure come in handy when I am traveling.

  19. I am still glad that there are physical books around. I do use ebooks as well but do love to hold a book to read when I can. Technology is not that old. It was slowly starting out when I had my first son and then slowly but then quickly changed to the present where everything is digital. However, does not work when there is no electricity around.

  20. I will always buy and read books. I read eBooks when I am traveling and don’t want to add weight, etc. I used to buy and wear Seiko watches, but then I switched to Tissot which are Swiss made and they are way better, and self-winding which Japan was getting away from. Love My TIssot’s.

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