The Age Of “Multi Plying”
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief
Whenever I’ve clicked into a blog or article on “to e-book or not to e-book,” the writer as well as the readers who comment always seem to adamantly take sides: one either has to love print books or e-books; it’s one or the other.
The reality for me is I buy books on my Nook and enjoy the portability and space-saving capability that compact tablet affords, but I still purchase printed books—classic finds at flea markets, picture-rich coffee table books and reference-type books well-suited to post-it noting and quick flip-throughs.
Why not take advantage of both worlds? I’d be missing out if I chose just one or the other.
Just like the book publishing business, home textiles retailing is in an era of great transition. A handful of years ago, e-commerce warranted only a rare sidebar in trade magazines like this one.
Today, online retailing is an integral part of regular business reporting (see p. 10 of our Bath SMART Report called “Game Changers”). Many of the suppliers featured in “Game Changers” successfully maintain relationships with both traditional and online retailers—not one or the other. And most consumers shop via more than one channel.
Not too many years ago, some pundits were declaring that the sprouting up of eco-friendly product offerings was only a fad, destined to fade away because the higher prices of organic cotton, for example, made those products too expensive for most consumers to consider buying.
Yet here we are today, with the “green” movement growing greener each year. “Earthly Pleasures,” beginning on p. 18, includes information about two well-established companies that aren’t launching new eco-friendly lines, but rather pushing the envelope further to debut two new 100 percent organic lines. There’s enough room in the marketplace for many types of products and trends—not just one or the other.
“Either/or” debates don’t jibe with the times. In transition eras, suppliers and retailers need to embrace a variety of options presented by technology, economics and global circumstances to succeed—not stand still and only speculate on which one or the other will succeed.
History has shown that in many instances, there usually isn’t an immediate “winner take all.” Have cable channels put the major networks out of business yet? Have movies and television killed Broadway? Venues can diminish or change when new ones come along, but few roads to major evolutions are short or easily predictable.
The best way to navigate change and the uncertainty that travels with it is to ply your trade in multiple ways and to keep your options open.