Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bookshops' latest sad plot twist - Los Angeles Times:
"This is the paradox of modern bookselling. Even in an entertainment-saturated age, people still buy books. But the casual reader has many other places to get bestsellers and topical books, from warehouse stores to the mall. Meanwhile, book nuts — the ones who simply must buy several volumes a week — are lured online. Few businesses can survive that lose customers from both ends of the spectrum."

The problem is not the technology in and of itself. The problem is the independent bookseller has now got to compete with it. If a bookstore opened up across the street, it would have to compete with it too. This is not a new thing. You've just got to use some imagination AND use YOUR strengths. What strength would a small, independent bookstore have over Amazon? What about the ability to get the book you want immediately? Amazon has to ship it. The local store has it right there waiting for you. What always bugged me about online shopping from brick-and-mortar stores was the fact that I could not order the item online and pick it up at the store that day. This is starting to change but the last time I checked you still couldn't do this at Barnes & Noble. And there are precious, precious few local independent booksellers who have ANYTHING like a web site. At the very least, you need to have a web site where you can post recommended new titles, upcoming author visits, events, or even store hours for crying out loud! It is not expensive and it is not difficult. It IS new though for most of these owners. But you can't win if you don't play.

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