Only the Lonely: Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores in a Vanishing World

I am a collector of bookstores.  When vacationing, I like to seek out a new or used bookstore in town, to support local business, to add to the growing collection of books by my bedside, and to discover what sets it apart from others. I can sometimes remember years later that I acquired a book at […]

“JUSQU’AUBOUTISTE”: A Review of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

I never formally studied World War I in school, so it may be that most of what I know about the war comes from Stanley Kubrick’s film Paths of Glory. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know it has little to do with the war’s historical timeline, or the reasons for the war itself. It focuses […]

Book Distribution—The Only Constant Is Change

How has the internet transformed what we think of as more traditional distribution networks? How has Amazon, the largest online retailer for books, transformed the market? This last post will explore the issues particularly surrounding book distribution networks into the digital age. As of mid-2011, Amazon was the second largest total seller of physical books, […]

‘Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again’: Book Distribution in the Digital Age

Previous posts on this topic dealt with U.S. book distribution in its earliest iteration when books were shipped to America from Europe, then carried by itinerant foot- or horse-peddlers. Later the invention of steam-powered travel allowed faster shipment across the nation to all quadrants. This article deals with the modern era, ending a few years […]

‘Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again’: Book Distribution in the U.S., Part 3

As chronicled in my previous two posts (see January 15 and March 12 of this year), the book business has transitioned a great deal since the horseback peddler days of Parson Mason Weems. And yet, in some ways, the book trade is dealing with the same problems that have plagued it since its inception. The […]

‘Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again’: Book Distribution in the U.S., Part 2

The first installment on U.S. book distribution examined early methods for book sales and delivery, including traveling peddlers to rural areas and stationary peddlers in metropolises.  With the advent of steam-powered transportation, the book distribution network in the U.S. was about to undergo its first major shift. What follows is an introduction to the impact […]

‘Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again’: Book Distribution in the U.S., Part I

When readers want to buy a book, where do they acquire it? New books can be purchased at big-box retailers like Target, Costco, or Walmart, at a chain bookstore like Barnes & Noble, at an independent bookseller, or online, likely at Amazon. Where individuals purchase books and why, has to do with cost, opportunity, or […]