Bookshops in Exeter, Waterstones as a wifi cafe with Kindle hardware #likeminds

The previous #likeminds may have surprised some people with the support for hard copy books.

The next #likeminds is at the end of this week and there have been major changes in Exeter bookshops. Blackwells on the campus has morphed into a desk at the Forum. There will be extra stock of course books at the beginning of the academic terms but the idea of a university bookshop with a range of stock seems to have gone. The Forum has got improved library access to online journals and also rooms with touch screens the size of tables to facilitate group sessions. So far many people seem to accept this sort of direction.

News today is that Waterstones will stock the Kindle form Amazon and improve the wifi access and cafe facitilites in existing shops. In Exeter there are two Waterstones, one of which already has a cafe. The central library also plans a cafe but there may be no limit to the number of cafes Exeter can support.

WH Smith also has a cafe and a stock of Kobo devices. They also have some digital stock such as blank CDs and some cables. The  Kobo directly supports the ePUB format. So it is possible to transfer content from free downloads or other formats. ePUB may be complicated by the various forms of Digital Rights Management but it appears that Kobo is a reasonable choice at the moment. see this video for guidance and check the comments to see that there are still a lot of problems.

Exeter is going to be fairly typical of a retail environment with books. The university has largely moved on away from physical books. The High Street will have Kindle outlets, cafes with wifi, WH Smiths and a Sony Centre with the original eReader once sold in Waterstones.

I am still puzzled as to what will happen with the academic library. They still have a lot of books as hard copy. Most of the journals are now digital, but the publishing model still assumes the conventions established in print. There appears to be one unique date of publishing for one unique version of the text. The cost to the library is still high. Access to the general public is usually not available.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. There may be more students from the university visiting the High Street in search of hard copy books. Maybe some academic journals will have versions that can be found on a Kindle or Kobo at prices more people would consider. The difficulty could be that in management books for example there will be one set of literature for journals, now even better rights protected than when in print, and another set of literature written in a style that can sell in bookshops now only found in the city centre. This is roughly where I guess the #likeminds bookstall will find stock, assuming there still is one. More at the end of the week.