Originally Posted by Laridae
Yes, it's morally wrong but the sad truth is that more and more people just don't care. (Extra, extra, there is a general decline of morality in the West, if not the world - you heard it here first!)
"Showrooming", as it's called, has become a major problem for many types of B&M stores; electronics, clothing, shoes ... etc .. not just books. They have to do something different to survive, so maybe charging to browse isn't such a bad idea, because what they are doing now isn't working and they are rapidly dying out to online competitors.
Showrooming isn't any different from a moral standpoint than comparison shopping; there's no moral obligation to pay more money. This is just a shift in consumer behaviour, there's no moral component to it. And to those that complain about slipping morals, are you complaining about declining morals, or a decline in the number of people sharing your particular preferences?
Having your bookstore open to the public is your choice if you're running a bookstore; no one is morally obligated to buy from you just because you've decided to structure your business in a way that invites browsing without buying.