Bookstores and publishers are barely hanging on these days, but sometimes you have to wonder if they don't bring some of their bad luck on themselves.
That whole Pippa Middleton book was quite a fiasco. PenguinBooks paid Prince William's sister-in-law a £400,000 advance for a party planning book, which sold all of 2,000 copies in its first week and not many more after that. It's now on the remainder shelves.
The big publishers have been slow to warm to ebooks and decided that price-fixing would be a good way to deal with the problem. The US Department of Justice decided that wasn't such a good idea after all, and now the publishers have to refund consumers who overpaid for their ebooks.
And now the CEO of HarperCollins UK has suggested that if bookstores want to fight "showrooming," the practice of trying out a product in the store before buying it online, they might consider charging a browsing fee. Now I enjoy going to the bookstore as much as anyone. Steve and I go to Barnes & Noble every Sunday morning and were sad to see one of the other BN stores in town close last month. But it isn't a museum and I cannot imagine paying a fee to browse.
But maybe it's a brilliant idea and in a few years' time we'll think nothing of paying admission to look at books. Ten years ago I certainly didn't imagine having the majority of my books on a single handheld device.