fredag 9 november 2012

E-boken utmanar biblioteken, bokhandlarna och bokförlagen

Trenden går mot abbonemangstjänster för e-böcker, där konsumenter för en månatlig avgift får tillgång till ett enormt bibliotek direkt i läsplattan/datorn/mobilen.Vilka är konsekvenserna för arbetsmarknaden? Företag som Amazon har en kraftigt slimmad verksamhet och är på väg mot en helt automatiserad lagerverksamhet. I takt med att den fysiska boken ersätts av e-boken kan även lagerverksamheten avvecklas och företaget drivas med ett minimum av personal.

Biblioteken utmanas:

Just as economists and geologists speak of “peak oil,” the point where humans have extracted half of the Earth’s petroleum deposits, I would posit that somewhere around the year 1992, we reached “Peak Libraries” where half the demand for library services is in the past. But where that demand took place over hundreds or even thousands of years, we are now seeing an acceleration in the need for library services which will culminate in a rapid drop-off in demand, ending, inevitably, at zero.

In my long career as an Associate University Librarian, I have seen the trend increasingly from a world where libraries are one of a very few means of accessing trusted information, to a world where libraries are frequently the last place that people think to look when satisfying an information need. Nearly all the ways that we have distinguished ourselves over the past few millennia – and here I am thinking of collections, cataloging and metadata, and public services such as reference and instruction – are increasingly irrelevant. 
What librarians don’t see is that the librarian’s position in this field is contingent rather than necessary, an historical blip of a profession rather like the travel agent or the town crier.

Librarians are often reduced to creating new reasons for their existence, reasons that have virtually nothing to do with the library qua library. When librarians speak of “library as place,” know that they have reached the tipping point, and are almost ready to concede that the library has little use anymore besides a place for the homeless to sleep and college students to check their Facebook accounts (or, quite likely, vice-versa). Your town would be better off with the library dollars going to free municipal broadband and better services for the homeless, unemployed, children, and the socially inept who make up the majority of their clientele. The university library could be gutted in favor of a live/study space combining student residences, study space, computer labs, and food courts.


Bokhandlarna utmanas:
Borders Group Inc., the second- biggest U.S. bookstore chain, filed for bankruptcy in New York today after management changes, job cuts and debt restructuring failed to make up for sagging book sales in the face of competition from Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Förhoppningarna om ett uppsving för små, oberoende bokhandlare tycks inte infrias.

Bokförlagen utmanas:
Four self-published authors will have a total of seven novels on the New York Times ebook bestseller list this weekend, and the founder of self-publishing powerhouse Smashwords is predicting the number is only going to grow.

I samtliga fall handlar det om arbetstillfällen som försvinner utan att nya tillkommer i någon större omfattning.