It is a great relief that the digital versus print debate is becoming a thing of the past and our discussions are becoming far more nuanced. Siôn Hamilton has captured some important aspects of this nuance in an article he recently wrote for TheBookSeller.com, “What 15 years at Foyles taught me about the future of bookselling” (June 21, 2017). While retail and libraries do differ profoundly in purpose, philosophy and method, Hamilton brings a number of critical insights about the nature of human experience, discovery and the pleasure of reading a physical book, that are relevant to both book stores and libraries.
There is no doubt that digital technologies have shaken the publishing world to its core and transformed our reading habits. Gaming, social media, ebooks, online shopping, smartphones and tablets, home delivery, search engines, curation algorithms, advertising algorithms, big data, physical books, and most significantly, the almost infinite ways that all these media are interconnected continue to make change the only constant. Hamilton cuts through this swirling world of publishing and retail to offer some insights that have implications for libraries.
Lesson 1 : good design