Nate Harris just shared with me a great article by Teri Harman on KSL.com - Book Matters: Is there a future for traditional bookstores? It's worth reading the whole article. The ideas presented are worth pondering and should be something we share with our customers to ponder as well.
There is something about walking into a quaint, local bookstore: books in every nook and cranny, the welcoming smiles of booksellers, eager to help put the right book in your hands and that smell — the wonderful smell of pages and words. Bookstores have always been one of my favorite places. I seek them out wherever I go; I look forward to regular visits.
Despite my love of these stores, I didn't fully grasp their importance and value until recently. Like most of us, I fell victim to the lure of huge discounts from retailers like Costco and Amazon. For someone who loves to collect books and reads voraciously, the idea of being able to buy more books for less money was too tempting. My independent bookstore purchases became a rare treat instead of a regular habit. . . .
Independent bookstores will continue on because they provide an invaluable service that discount and online retailers can't: personal, knowledgeable service. These booksellers read, know and love books and can match readers to books. The books we read are a personal experience, and to ensure the most meaningful experience it only makes sense to go to the experts for advice. . . .
Another service provided by independent stores is support of our local economies and communities. This support is crucial, and more shoppers need to understand the consequences of shopping outside the local community. . . .
Every time you spend $100 in a locally owned independent business, 68 percent stays in our community; when you spend that same $100 in a chain store, 43 percent stays here. When you spend $100 at Amazon, 0 percent stays here. . . .
The trend of publishers pushing books through discount and online retailers instead of through independent stores devalues books. And for someone who values books immensely, I knew I could no longer support such efforts.
So in answer to the question, "Do traditional bookstores have a future?" I say this: a big, emphatic YES!
Bookstores will have a future if we, those who read and those who love books, support the stores that make the most impact.
Personally, as a reader, book lover and a writer, I want my book money to count for more. I have committed to buying all my books from independent stores. I'm content buying fewer books knowing that the ones I do buy go to truly support the book community — my community. . . .
I also switched all the book links . . . from Amazon to the . . . independent booksellers.
If all readers do the same, then not only will our communities be better off, but bookstores will have a bright and lasting future.
This switching of links from Amazon and other "big" vendors to our Indie's is something I talked to a lot of people about at Convention last week - and got a very positive response from them. They just want to move their product and they are happy if that is through you. You just have to bring it in.
It's all about servicing the customer -- with the greatest variety of products that support and inspire them and their families -- in the most convenient and efficient manner. That's what we can do better than anyone else!