Luxury and Book Places

Harajda says that the future of publishing could lie in producing more artistic works that that aren’t readily available to download on a Kindle. “The library becomes a fashionable thing,” said Harajda. “[We’re] convinced that people [will] read books like they’re collectible art pieces.” -Gillian Mahoney, Pavleye(s) on Prague

There’s a retrenchment of thing-ness and place-ness out there if you’re aware of it. Locally grown food and hand-made goods are part of the Brooklynification of the rest of the world. Weirdly, there’s an echo between a pop-up store selling a single book as an art object (and the library as a unique aesthetic-experience place), and the quote below:

So maybe publishers should treat indies like showrooms, and send their books to indies on consignment. That means that only if and when a book sells is money paid to the publisher. The books in the store shouldn’t be the focus of the revenue. Instead, the revenue might come from membership fees, book rentals, and referral fees for drop shipped new copies or ebook sales. –Book Places in the Digital Age

Both the pop-up and the proposed bookstore model cut both ways: The emphasis on thing-ness and place-ness have the possibility of limiting the potential audience reached through any “public awareness raising.” To that end, I’d like to cite someone with choice words for the methods used in internet to reach people:

The more targeted that advertising is, the less effective that it is. Internet technology can be more efficient at targeting, but the closer it gets to perfectly tracking users, the less profitable it has to become.

The profits are in advertising that informs, entertains, or creates a spectacle—because that’s what sends a signal. Targeting is a dead end. Maybe “Do Not Track” will save online advertising from itself. -Don Marti, Perfectly Target Advertising Would Be Perfectly Useless

In the sliding of Facebook’s IPO and the annoyance of being scrutinized as a person and a consumer, the goal of informing, entertaining or creating a spectacle is more important to any “place-focused” entity than being able to precisely tailor or advertising to a perceived taste. So why mention luxury in the first place? Luxury is based on scarcity, and limiting the spectacle, information or entertainment to a particular place (online or physical), producing different levels of scarcity. To that end, the local/handmade/scarcity model that is trending relies on similar methods. If they are to succeed, then the effort put into the relationship by the patron has to be met or exceeded by the other party (bookseller or library in our case). If we want to follow this model, following the trends online won’t work because it only produces noise. As Don Marti suggests, we need to prove to people that through being place-focused we can get them something of greater value: a signal. The trick is, don’t take it too far.