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.