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Old 02-11-2013, 02:20 PM   #61
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I visited my uncle in Canada a few years back. On a Sunday we went to his local bookstore and sat in comfortable chairs reading their books and drinking coffee. When we left, he folded the corner of the page he was on down and replaced the book. I thought that was a bit cheeky!
That's vandalism. I hope he gets what he deserves!

(This was Canada, right? I though Canadian police had time to go after stuff like that, seeing as how they have nothing else to do.... kidding.)
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:22 PM   #62
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I am all for it. Seen WAY to many people sitting on the freaking floor reading a book, then put it back when they are done.
And now it is all grubby and dirty and yucky.

Keep the riff-raff out I say!
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:25 PM   #63
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I have a new grandson, so I have been buying baby stuff. One item in particular was $44 at Walmart, $55 at Target and $60 at Babies R Us. The exact same item, same packaging, everything. Do I feel at all guilty for buying it at Walmart? Nope!
When it came to sheets, the Walmart sheets were cheaper, but I didn't like the way they felt, so I bought Target. Babies R Us felt the same but were more expensive. Do I feel guilty for not buying Walmart or Babies R Us? Nope. As a matter of fact the best sheets I bought were at the used store.
Should I have to pay to go feel the fabric of those sheets? Or see which place has the cheapest price? Or feel guilty because I bought most of my sheets at the used store and none of those 3 stores got my money? I don't think so.
S
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:30 PM   #64
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Browsing in a bookshop and then buying online strikes me as being fundamentally dishonest. If you browse in a shop, buy in that shop. If you don't, the shop isn't going to be there much longer.
Except if you don't actually find what you want there! It wasn't that long ago that I was looking for a particular physical title at a Barnes & Noble. I don't go often, only when I have doctor appointments or other business in the area, because it is 2.5 hours of driving and a quarter tank of gas. I didn't find the title, got home and ordered online. Sadly, from Amazon, since BN's site is incredibly slow on dial-up access.

If BN had had the book in the store, I'd have happily bought it there. I'm not going to feel guilty over buying elsewhere. They get my business often enough for ebooks.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:34 PM   #65
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I can say that if a book store is going to charge me to browse they will not get me in the door in the first place. I'd rather pay a higher price on the end purchase than a price for the right to shop.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:37 PM   #66
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There's nothing wrong with browsing - provided you then buy at that store if you like the product. What's being objected to is using the store to examine the goods, and THEN buying the products elsewhere. That's just... wrong.
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.

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Old 02-11-2013, 03:00 PM   #67
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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.

There are other - better - ways to compete when you can't compete purely on price. You start with offering actual customer service by friendly people who like their jobs. It's not easy, but it can be done.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:31 PM   #68
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That means that nobody goes in to book stores unless they already know what they want. Zero impulse buys. That'll kill an outright majority of their business. This is a suicidally stupid idea.
Depends on the fee, for relatively low one, one might go in and pick something up as the already paid part of it and there is no point losing money, so you would have sale for the fee or bit more just then.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:37 PM   #69
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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.

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Old 02-11-2013, 03:40 PM   #70
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A more reasonable way for stores to charge for browsing would be something along the lines of Sam's Club or Costco, where you would pay an annual membership fee for unlimited entry, but in return can buy books at significantly discounted prices. Actual Costcos aren't quite like that, but you get the idea. This hypothetical store would still face stiff competition from Amazon in both pricing and breadth of inventory.
The major bookstores already do this. They have membership cards that you can purchase and are good for one year. They entitle you to a whopping 10% off your purchase......................except digital content.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:42 PM   #71
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There is all sorts of Rent and other expense paid by Online retailers.
It's significantly lower than brick & mortar costs.

Barnes & Noble, 2011:
- $7 billion in revenues
- 30,000 employees
- $233,000 in revenues per employee

Amazon, 2011:
- $48 billion in revenues
- 88,000 employees
- $545,000 in revenues per employee


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1)Warehouse space for physical products
3)Server (CoLo) rack space expense
5)Higher credit card (non-swipe) fees
Both retail and online retailers need warehouse space, online sales presence, and credit card processing fees.

Amazon doesn't need to pay leases or mortgages; they don't have a small army of sales clerks; they don't have to pay liability or fire or flood insurance on 650 stores; they only have to stock a handful of warehouses, rather than warehouses and 650 stores.

They also don't have to worry about digital cannibalizing their existing sales infrastructure.

And of course, indie stores don't have all the advantages of B&N or Amazon.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:45 PM   #72
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"Showrooming", as it's called, has become a major problem for many types of B&M stores; electronics, clothing, shoes ... etc .. not just books.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret here: showrooming wasn't invented by our generation, so don't feel special. It has always existed, as long as vendor A had more knowledgable sales people and vendor B had better prices. Heck, some mail order companies even took advantage of showrooming in the past by having small showrooms for their products while selling the bulk of their merchandise through mailorder.

Some businesses hated this, even before the Internet, so there is nothing new there either. On the other hand, a lot of businesses learned how to deal with it. Offering after market services and support is a prime example of this. B&M can virtually always do this better than mail order (including online). Building relationships with customers is another way. That is especially true with smaller businesses. (It's hard to do with the big businesses who are complaining about showrooming because their staff tend to be unknowledgable, indifferent, and there is a high turnover rate.)

Now I'm not going to say that I agree with showrooming or that I participate in it. Yet I am not going to claim that it is immoral because there is actually nothing wrong with it. If a business can't convince a customer that they should buy the product in their store because it is cheaper online, then they did a poor job in communicating the benefits of buying from them.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:54 PM   #73
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Depends on the fee, for relatively low one, one might go in and pick something up as the already paid part of it and there is no point losing money, so you would have sale for the fee or bit more just then.
While I can imagine a scenario where a 'retail cover charge' showroom browsing model might work (see the Naughty Librarian(©®TM) idea above...), the fallacy that will make this a suicidal move is the thinking that people go in to browse because they like the showroom feature and therefore will pay for it, and that will save the store.

The reality is, the stores NEED people to come in so that the store has a chance to sell them something. Enticing people to come in is the number one critical first step for the survival of a brick and mortor retail store. That's why the have sales, giveaways, in-store events, and fancy window displays.

People want a good value and they LEAVE the store without buying because they can get better value elsewhere. They will not pay MORE and reduce their value further. They will simply forgo the browsing, rely on the online merchant's return polices, and hasten the store's trip to bankruptcy.
Unless handled with some new value-added model, the stores will be throwing the baby out with the bath water, killing their number-one get'em-in-the-door feature: browsing the showroom.

ApK

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Old 02-11-2013, 04:10 PM   #74
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I could see a bookstore managing to pull off a "cover charge"/minimum purchase requirement--if it offered something other than books. A coffee shop, perhaps, with the ability to browse, buy, read and discuss books in the store. Regular book club meetups. Author signings where the author gets a cut of the cover charge. And so on.

It'd take a drastic reconsideration of the whole business model, though; "place people pay to enter" is very different from "place people go to buy things." Even if the entry fee is small, it serves to keep out casual browsers.

$2 per person? $1? Is the entry fee one-time-only or does it last for the day--can you browse, go next door to have lunch, and return? If you buy something, do you get a coupon for free entry next time? How about children? Are they free or do they wait outside while parents shop?

I can imagine a successful business based on it, but it'd be more a "book club" than a "book store."
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:26 PM   #75
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Depends on the fee, for relatively low one, one might go in and pick something up as the already paid part of it and there is no point losing money, so you would have sale for the fee or bit more just then.
Based on my 30+ years of experience in retail . . . no. In fact, I would guess that a low fee would actually piss people off more than a high one. Yeah, some people will pay it, but by and large, nobody is going to just stop in to browse, which means zero impulse sales.

I could see benefit from, say, sponsoring book clubs in the store - a local B&N does that - or signings by authors - Mysterious Galaxy does a lot of that, or other events, to build a sense of community. But a cover charge? No, that will actively drive customers away, not draw them in. Especially in a business where there is generally little interaction between customers and employees outside the cash register. Having people browse, but buy elsewhere, doesn't really cost the store anything, unlike an electronics store where the browsers are tying up an employee asking questions. So a cover charge for browsers is simply abusive. No one will come in to the store because of it, and many will decline to because of it.
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