Oh goody. A new hurdle to worry over. The high price of fuel might keep potential buyers from coming to bookstore events which might translate into less sales. Although, I tend to think that if you are a person who goes to bookstore events, you'll be going anyway. And as for booksales, a recession is likely to hurt the independent booksellers rather than megga sellers like Amazon. Books will still be sold, but where they will be sold is the difference.
Ah, how I miss living in an area where it was easy to get to a bookstore. Multiple bookstores! The experience of browsing through bookstore shelves is completely different from the online experience. I have found some interesting books that I never would have picked up had I not browsed the shelves than I could ever find from difficult online searches. Though there is nothing like the instant gratification from online sources. Something to be said for both. Christopher Kenneally from the Copyright Clearance Center (whom I talked about from BEA) sent me So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance by Gabriel Zaid, which breaks the bookreading public psyche down to digestible parts. We want it all, in other words. We want it fast, cheap, now. But we want it and nothing can stop that inexorable movement.
I'm banking on it.