Friday, July 22, 2011

writing a book - Where am I gonna sell it?

With the depressing news that Borders is closing all stores and Alana's post in homage to the impending fate of bookstores, I wrote a note to Barnes and Noble a few days ago with an idea for how bookstores could be transformed. After reading it over today some of these ideas seem far fetched, but I really don't want to see them all disappear! Oh, well.

Dear Barnes and Noble,

I have a suggestion...
I love bookstores and am sad to see them on the decline. I know people love to shop, peruse, sample and browse in bookstores. Unfortunately many are going home and buying their books online or doing it from their e-readers right in the store! They do this because choosing a book online is clumsy and frustrating. People like to see all the possiblities without waiting for the internet to pull up the next view. Bookstores have sections and the employees have great suggestions.

So here is my proposal:
Bookstores need a makeover. The atmosphere must cater to the new customer. Have one or two copies of books displayed for shoppers to sample. Also keep a few copies of bestsellers for sale. Keep the coffee shops and expand the seating, encourage browsing. Keep hosting author readings and signings/photo ops. Add computers stations and outlets for shoppers to charge their devices.

Here is how to make money:
Get a commission on sales of books you house. You are advertising for them, get paid for it. You can also be an outlet for hard copies of books that can be ordered. And there's opportunity to host book club meetings and reading groups. Finally, you could become a paid membership book club with discounts (like costco) with a daily admission charge for non members.

I'd hate to see bookstores go away completely. Let me know what you think!
Sincere reader,
Tara Tyler
http://www.taratylertalks.blogspot.com/

and then, a day later, one of my favorite WD bloggers, Jane Friedman, posted 4 responses/predictions about the circumstances of bookstores from actual writers. (i guess i'm just a virtual writer, ha ha)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this changing media. Maybe I'll send my next letter to Starbucks - they already sell music, they're definitely opportunists!

13 comments:

Nicki Elson said...

I think your idea is innovative and would definitely be the kind of place I'd like to hang out. I agree that even people who've purchased primarily on-line are going to miss the opportunity to stand amongst the books and "try them on." I hope this ends up boding well for smaller, mom & pop places that are already more about the experience than the bottom line. But they'll have to be nimble and willing to change the old formula to incorporate new technology. I'd circulate your idea to independent book stores in your area.

What I also find very interesting about your idea is to somehow give the stores a cut of on-line sales that result from the customer perusing its collection. How to get Amazon to play along...

Nina Powers said...

Good for you hon! The loss of Borders makes me wanna weep.

Nina

Catherine Denton said...

I like your ideas. I think something needs to happen and I don't want more bookstores going out of business. :(
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M Pax said...

I love the bookstore and my crit group meets at a B&N, so I'd hate to see it go away. You have some great ideas.

mshatch said...

there is a way to help bookstores stay in business (besides or in addition to your suggestions, which are AWESOME!): buy actual books. Frequent your local bookstore and buy a book or two. I have a wonderful award winning bookstore in my town and I frequent it as often as possible. My nieces and nephews NEVER get toys from me. They get books. I know it's hard to resist that button that downloads the latest ebook but if you/me/everyone can resist some of the time and buy the real book maybe bookstores will survive. I hope they do. because I love books, actual books.

thanks for this post :)

Nicole Mc said...

I agree with the Nicki Elson, definitely sounds like a cool place to hang out. I'm heartbroken by the close of Borders, my crit group actually meets there weekly. It was my absolute favorite store. I hope someone is innovative...great ideas!

julie fedderson said...

I love bookstores of all scales, from the little hole in the wall places to the giants. For me, it's the atmosphere that keeps me coming back, the actual physical pleasure of a book in my hands. I would love to see them embrace a more social aspect--offer more author's nights, book clubs. Also, I would love to see a brick and mortar store offer social media training and develop a "curriculum" on how to get the best out of literature and connecting with other like minded readers via the internet. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

ali said...

I haven't really thought about it much, but I thought you had some cool ideas!

MISH said...

There's nothing to beat the ambience of a bookstore , with thousands of books on shelves waiting for potential customers !
And the leisurely act of browsing/perusing ... cannot be replaced !

Rhonda@laugh-quotes said...

Interesting idea. Maybe they will listen. Maybe it will work. Good on you for sending in the letter.

Theresa Milstein said...

I think you have some pretty great ideas. A more interactive place would make it more popular.

I think that's why my local bookstores are holding on - each one offers something unique.

Tara Tyler said...

thanks for the encouragement! i love my paperbacks! but now I'm in the older generation, I suppose...

we shall see what happens!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Your ideas are good and I'm glad you wrote to them. So many people never get that far.

I don't think this is the death of books or bookstores. I think Borders was too big and they should have started cutting back on inventory and store sizes a while ago. The most expensive part of their store is usually the real estate.

A great place for cheap books I found? A large number of local libraries have used book stores to help with funds to buy new books for their shelves.

HMG