In a recent article, University of Connecticut School law school dean Jeremy Paul wrote that the local bookstore is in danger of extinction and suggested that the bookstore could be saved by higher prices and possible government intervention. Paul suggests blurring the lines between public and private distinction.
But is this really necessary? Are ebooks aiding to the death of the bookstore? Here’s an excerpt:
What we need is a better understanding that markets are something that we build together, and so we can search for rules that produce the life we want not simply the cheaper prices we crave. In this case, we should be striving for an approach that blurs the public/private distinction that now sharply divides the library from the bookstore. This means creating a way to get people to pay a bit more for their books than they now do online, knowing that their shopping is part consumption and part philanthropy. Barnes & Noble does collect membership fees from customers to help the bottom line. The company could do more, for example, by selling some customers special membership cards that would allow them to get signed copies or go through faster lines. But all such approaches play on consumer demand for discounts.
Paul makes more suggestions in the longer article. What do you think? How can the bookstore be saved?