Excellent post from Kassia on the future of bookstores. Much along the lines of what I believe about indies, though I might quibble at certain points:
What gives indies leverage? Customer service. Community. When it comes to a physical store, I go there because I want a certain level of interaction. I want human contact. I want tactile. I want readings. Events. Original content. Something unique that I can’t get anywhere else. I want to be seduced by a cover with a striking image, and, honestly, I think booksellers have a better idea of what attracts readers than publishers (especially those publishers who don’t leave New York very often). Extra points if there’s a clever shelf talker. I am a sucker for a good shelf talker.
When I shop digital, I want data. I want details about the book. I want ratings, reviews, suggestions. I want to interact with like-minded readers. I want to know what they bought. I want curation. Oh, I wouldn’t mind shelf talkers. A personal review from someone who loves a book is like potato chips for me. Sincerity, authenticity, passion, these are the enemies of my credit card.
via Bookstores Now, More than Ever | Booksquare.
2 thoughts on “Go Read This | Bookstores Now, More than Ever | Booksquare”
I want the physical sensory experience of browsing for books over a cup of really good coffee. The people who predict the demise of the bookstore compare it to the fate of the video rental store. They think that readers will take to Kindle the way that movie fans took to Netflix. It won’t happen. Spending and enjoyable afternoon in a nice bookstore is about as close to dashing in and out of a Blockbuster as a day at the beach is to 15 minutes in a tanning booth. I will occasionally buy online … always have … but I will still want to spend time in the bookstore.
I agree with the way Kassia defines the advantages of both venues. As an author, I love the feedback you get at a bookseller’s signing event. It gives the opportunity to get an accurate picture of your readers. Often readers will raise questions and ideas about your plot and characters that you never would have imagined—an added bonus to inspire future writing.
However, digital editions have the immediacy of delivery that this impatient “Age of Technology” audience demands.
When it comes down to it, storytellers need an audience. Both booksellers and digital retailers provide this, well. You wish both could survive, but my gut tells me one will lose out. I’ve already experienced this in my former career—newspaper journalist. Ach, sin scéal eile…