On this day in 1949 the first seven inch 45rpm records were introduced to the world by RCA Records. They became known as singles and became a mainstay until the advent of cd’s and digital files. Major record labels discontinued production in early 2005 and replaced them with cd-singles which bombed with the public. In early 2007 a strange thing happened, sales of 45’s began to increase. Major labels took notice and began producing the vinyl singles and sales have been up ever since.
So why discuss records on a bookstore page? Here is why, vinyl was pronounced ‘Dead’ and has since made a smashing recovery with the youth who were considered the ones who killed it. It is my opinion that this will be the knee jerk reaction that will happen with the printed word. Print has been considered ‘Dead’ before and has resurrected itself and I feel it will be the young people of today who will save it.
Will books look the same as they do today? The fast answer is ‘No’, books will probably be issued in quality paperback and mass market formats as the cost of paper and production increases. Hardcover books will become special limited edition versions of the original books. They will be signed, or come in a slipcase or include special introductions from the author or chapters which editors may have cut making it desirable for those who want to spend a bit more for something special.
We are already seeing this trend in many of your ‘chain’ bookstores, shelves populated by trade paperbacks and mass markets. Is this bad? ‘No’, but if publishing doesn’t evolve and reposition itself in the market print will become extinct and those who visit my bookstore to experience the smell of books and the feel of paper on their fingertips will have to take photos of the cute little bookshop for posterity as I will not be around if things don’t change.
So save a bookstore and buy a book!