Originally Posted by fjtorres
For regular book buyers, good store operators can and do engage the customer. You don't have to be a genius to know that somebody who makes a habit of popping in the same weekday at the same time is somebody worth engaging.
And ambiance matters; unless the store is swamped, taking a few seconds to actually converse (beyond canned queries) with the customer helps a lot. A comment about the book, the weather, sports, whatever... Just an acknowledgement the customer isn't just a wallet with legs.
I agree with this. If book stores can add value, they can survive -- especially if they can get by on lower margins. Give away the popular books and make money on other stuff -- coffee, collectible books, used e-readers. I just don't see how a small book store competes with Wal-Mart or Amazon on the NYT best sellers.