It is safe to say the market isn’t thought of very much by most adults: they think about books one at a time or not at all. Even though a print book today looks very much like one that had been purchased decades earlier, a perfect storm of changes has been affecting the market and every player in it: From Random House to the random one-man publisher, everyone in the industry feels the pressures of printing and distribution costs, an image problem of being perceived as ‘old fashioned’ in a wired world, and a public which seems increasingly scatterbrained and distracted to even think about picking up a book.
Those points may make the book market and its problems look simple, but there are a lot of questions pertaining to the future of the book: How many consumers actually buy books and what are they purchasing? What effect are electronic books having on the market? What is the impact of retailers such as Target and Wal-mart having on books? Are independent booksellers and giants like Barnes & Noble really on the way out or does the future of books include those entities?
The best way to understand this surprisingly complicated marketplace is to use information that is bias-free, independent, and up-to-date, and our intelligence is all three.