Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bookstore Woes

Got news of the closing of another bookstore. Wasn't surprised, as I predicted this one. They had too much overhead to get enough return.

Bookstores are facing tough times, with a dwindling customer base, who are going elsewhere, or going digital.

So they need to get smart, and leverage the customer experience, to make it worthwhile to physically travel to the bookstore.

A smart thing for them to do is to get authors in to the store. Many people love to talk to writers, ask them questions, and just interact with them. Then they tell their friends:
“Hey, I was at the bookstore, and got to talk to Writer X. Let me tell you about it.”
You know, free advertising.

However, some bookstores are reluctant to do this, despite the fact it can be done at no cost to them, and helps increase their business.

I offered to do this for a bookstore, and was told that they wanted to wait and see how the book sold first.

What a completely ass-backward way of doing business. Instead of helping to sell the book, they want someone else to do all the work, and then come help them! “Come back when you're famous, kid.” Sure-- oh, wait, I'll be too busy going to the places that helped me get there. You'll probably be out of business by then, anyway. You're distancing the provider of your product from the end consumer, instead of being the nexus where they should meet.

Folks who turn away the chance to do better business at no cost or effort to themselves really should stop complaining and making excuses for their business going downhill. In this new world, you better get smarter fast, or you'll be gone.

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