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!
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!