Authors should try to work with chain/big box and independent bookstores, but most authors, whether traditionally or independently published, will find independent bookstores more receptive to working with them. Big box stores tend to have a lot of red tape and corporate policies that make them unfriendly to self-published and local authors. Even if the local branch of a big chain store wants to work with an author, it is often helpless to do so because of corporate guidelines that govern return policies or refuse to carry self-published books. In addition, chain stores tend to have larger staff and greater turnover that make it more difficult for authors to build relationships with store employees. And yes, your books stand a good chance of being buried on the shelves in a big box chain store.Independent bookstores, by comparison, can be a delight to work with. People who work in independent bookstores love books.
My husband and I are big date night people. We try to go out a couple of times each month. But we add a twist to the activity: usually one of us plans it and it is a surprise to the other person.
When it’s my turn to choose, I try to find activities that are different each time. One particular Friday night when we had already seen all the current movies we cared to, I took the advice of a former coworker. She told me that she and her husband like to just hang out at bookstores sometimes.
Since it was in the middle of the cold winter, being indoors in a cozy bookstore sounded like a good idea. So we went to our local Barnes and Nobles and spent a few hours.
I spent most of the time in the aisle about internet marketing, thumbing through some of the books that I had heard about, but probably wouldn’t go out to buy. For example, there was one book about eBay that had tips from their top powersellers. Some of these tips were actually pretty good.
This was also around the time that Perry Marshall’s bookstore book had just come out. Unfortunately they had sold out of it pretty quickly.
My husband looked through gardening books. This is another nice thing to do in the winter; it gets you longing for the warmer weather and gardening season.
Amazon is great for buying books, but you really can’t look through them first. It’s true that most of the Amazon books have a Look Inside feature, but this only allows you to see select pages. It’s hard to really get a feel of the entire book that way.
Nothing compares with actually holding the book in your hands and skimming it. I did find some books I was interested in buying. Did I actually purchase them there? No. But I did ask for them as payment for some internet work I did for a friend (I helped her sell her RV on eBay). I guess it’s kind of ironic that she bought them from Amazon.
The bookstore was surprisingly crowded for a Friday night. Some people were there to buy books, but others were just killing time. In fact, we bumped into some friends of ours who were waiting until it was time to head over to their movie at the multiplex nearby.
After we felt that we had gotten our literary fill, we went to the adjoining Starbucks and had a hot drink and dessert. Mine was some kind of decaf sweet latte thing.
All-in-all it was an enjoyable evening. I would do it again for a date night. So if you’re into books, and even if you aren’t and you want something different for date night, try hanging out at your local bookstore for a couple of hours.
The current economy is being effected by a number of different factors and businesses of all shapes and sizes are feeling the effects. A trend that has effected many retailers, in combination with the general downward slide of consumer spending, is the adjustment to online retailers, namely Amazon. I will focus on Amazon being that as of the close of 2007 it held the title of the world’s largest online retailer with close to 15 billion in annual sales. The way in which traditional retailers use the technology that has now become commonplace is a determinate of their future success. A clever retailer will incorporate these new technological tactics rather than cut his or her losses.
In 1994, former financial analyst, Jeffery P. Bezos founded Amazon.com, an online bookstore. The company quickly expanded its product line to sell electronics, cds, movies, children’s toys, household items and even groceries. Today, Amazon and it’s partners sell virtually any item from fine jewelry to sports equipment. As of 2006 it sells digital copies of CDs, DVDs and Books. Amazon Unbox allows customers to download these products to their computer or certain TiVo boxes. In 2007 the company introduced Amazon MP3 store and the Kindle. Amazon MP3 is similar to Apple’s iTunes making downloadable music available. Kindle is an electronic book reader and the first electronic device to carry the company’s own brand. Amazon also rents out parts of its back-end infrastructure to other companies, positioning itself as a technology company, Amazon Web Services.
Amazon’s growth has been slow and steady. The company did not profit until 2002. Although the company has shown a net profit in every year since 2002, as of the close of 2007, Amazon had a net cumulative deficit of over 1 billion dollars. Amazon’s growth is the result of a solid progression that adds levels and products and merchant partnerships. The culmination of these business aspects results in consumer and merchant positive name recognition alike.
In this respect, I think that Amazon took cues from traditional retailers who are successful, slow and steady. This is a direct contrast to your lightening fast overnight internet success story which was the dream of so many dot bomb participants. So, it stands to reason that if the iconic company of the internet era took a traditional retail approach to solid success that a solid traditional retailer could greatly benefit from incorporating some of the technological strategies of the Internet store.
The speed and convenience of an online purchase is hard to pass up. But retailers will always have the advantage of atmospheric dynamics. People like to peruse and touch and feel. They need the hands on experience and inspiration of the store setting, smells and other people. In this day and age it is the responsibility of the local retailer to incorporate technological functions tot his atmosphere in order to stay in the game.