What Bookstores can do to survive
I meant for this to go live weeks ago, if not months but I never posted it. But here it is, and it especially vital after Amazon’s announcement that they are launching Kindle Matchbook.
A good Integration with the online store
No bookstore can keep every title in a series. While most stores offer to order it for you, there are ways it could be improved. For example, a major Swedish bookstore chain used to have that you could order a book from their online store, and then pick it up in store 3 days later. And pay at pick up. It was a really neat way to buy books. Unfortunately, they removed it. Sigh.
Offer discounts on or bundle e-books/ audiobooks when buying trade or hardcover
Now a days, most bookstores also sell e-books and audiobooks. Either because they are running an e-book store themselves, or because they are partnering with Kobo, or another e-book store. This means it would be really easy for them to offer a bundle of e-book/ audiobook and print, for a good price. There are some publishers that are taking steps in this direction. Angry Robot have just announced that they are extending their clone files project to the US, and Candlemark & Gleam offers the e-book version for free if you buy the print version from their webpage.
Give customers a reason to visit your store:
This might sound like a no brainer, but I think many bookstores forget about it. For example, I haven’t been in the bookstore in my local mall that often. Why? Since the book prices higher than the chains, because their store looks as if they are closing any week. But, I would love to if they gave the impression that they were service minded, and devoted to selling books. How? I will not say lowering the prices, since they are independent, but restructure the store. Focus on books, focus on making it welcoming to the customers.