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Old 02-17-2013, 11:26 AM   #196
GlenBarrington
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Originally Posted by mediax View Post
All that will do is hasten the demise that bookshops fear.

I buy e-books almost exclusively, but still visit bookshops regularly and occasionally make unplanned purchases. If they charged for admission, I certainly wouldn't visit and the bookshop would lose out on even the occasional purchases I do make.

I've never understood why bookshops (the chain retailers, at least) haven't come up with some business model whereby they download ebooks for you - either direct to your reader or to a memory card/stick (the latter would no doubt raise DRM issues). I'm perfectly capable of downloading my own books, but I'd still take advantage of that sort of facility if I saw a book I fancied in a bookshop.
Certainly! The technology is there for print on demand! Personally, if the printed books were cheap enough, I would tolerate even printing on thermal or other paper that fades after a few months. Particularly, if I could then order a permanent printed book if the book warranted such treatment.

There are logistical issues to work out, such as how you register and pay for purchases and prevent orders being abandoned, but think about getting an order scanner pen upon entering the bookstore, then as you browse and see a book you want, you just swipe the pen across the bar code. When you are ready to leave, go to the checkout counter and pick up your purchases.

I think impulse purchases would go up in such an environment. It would bring the "click to purchase" spontaneity of the web page as close as possible to a brick and mortar store.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:31 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
The people in this thread that are saying that it's some combination of wrong, immoral or unethical to browse but not buy are confusing morality with personal preference.
It is common practice in the modern world to try to paint personal choices as moral issues and to try to legislate moral issues into binding law. With usually disastrous results for both the society and the activity/business being "protected".
It's usually a matter of whose ox is getting gored.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:56 PM   #198
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Someone may have mentioned this in a previous comment, but I think Best Buy has a better approach.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/15/39...nt-showrooming

Why couldn't B&N offer a price-match for books from Amazon? I'll bet they could, easily enough. But they probably won't.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
Is it wrong when I go to a bookstore, scan a ISBN with my phone to get Amazon reviews, and then buy from the bookstore?
Good question.

It's easy for me to answer just as asked: I am a partial owner of Amazon through my pension plan (S&P 500 component). And I am an Amazon customer. So no ethical problem.

But what if we changed the hypothetical so that I stopped being a customer, and, on top of that, Jeff Bozos took Amazon private?

And on top of that, let's say that they stopped the worthless-to-me practice of hosting anonymous reviews and instead linked to professional signed book reviews at sites like nybooks.com?*

Then it would be tempting to me to take Bezos's machine cycles with no possibility of him profiting from it.

I think it would be a worse to put wear and tear on the carpets of a Mom and Pa store than to take the machine cycles of a billionaire. But I'm a little uncomfortable saying that, because billionaires are human too.

_____________________________
* I'd love to have a good comprehensive search engine for professionally done signed book reviews. Do anyone know of one?
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:15 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by djulian View Post
Someone may have mentioned this in a previous comment, but I think Best Buy has a better approach.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/15/39...nt-showrooming

Why couldn't B&N offer a price-match for books from Amazon? I'll bet they could, easily enough. But they probably won't.
Because they would then have 700+ (or whatever the number is) unprofitable stores, not just twenty.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:32 PM   #201
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Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
Good question.

It's easy for me to answer just as asked: I am a partial owner of Amazon through my pension plan (S&P 500 component). And I am an Amazon customer. So no ethical problem.

But what if we changed the hypothetical so that I stopped being a customer, and, on top of that, Jeff Bozos took Amazon private?

And on top of that, let's say that they stopped the worthless-to-me practice of hosting anonymous reviews and instead linked to professional signed book reviews at sites like nybooks.com?*

Then it would be tempting to me to take Bezos's machine cycles with no possibility of him profiting from it.

I think it would be a worse to put wear and tear on the carpets of a Mom and Pa store than to take the machine cycles of a billionaire. But I'm a little uncomfortable saying that, because billionaires are human too.

_____________________________
* I'd love to have a good comprehensive search engine for professionally done signed book reviews. Do anyone know of one?
By this logic I can do whatever I want in a store, as long as it's listed on an American stock exchange as I hold a Total Market Index. We'll ignore that I don't get any voting rights or other benefits of ownership, and that the fund provider uses sampling to match the index. But I'm an owner of every public company so I can browse and buy elsewhere all i want!
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:38 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
Then it would be tempting to me to take Bezos's machine cycles with no possibility of him profiting from it.
And he *still* wouldn't mind.
Amazon's machine cycles are paid for by the subscribers to AWS. And even if they weren't he'd still be happy to have you using his system instead of generating eyeball traffic for google.

See, there is this old-school mindset that every last service or benefit must be directly paid for in hard currency, on the spot, that totally ignores the indirect value of consumer activity. (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Kim DotCom and the hosts of most every "free" pirate content site out there in the nether regions, they all know there is money to be made off "free". We aren't just the consumer; most of the time *we* are the product.)

Let's say you do use Amazon to research everything you buy but choose to buy elsewhere. Well, every item you research is logged by Amazon and it helps them build a database of user interest. So they can tell what people are thinking of buying as well as what they are buying from them. And that information, in the aggregate, has economic value. Probably enough to defray the cost of browser queries. (Their system is *very* cheap to run.)

Just the fact that we are even mentioning Amazon right now is generating a few fractions of a cent of income for them at some point in the near future.


Last edited by fjtorres; 02-17-2013 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:07 PM   #203
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Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
And on top of that, let's say that they stopped the worthless-to-me practice of hosting anonymous reviews and instead linked to professional signed book reviews at sites like nybooks.com?*
This would never happen on a site which sells merchandise. Amateur reviews are ignored by customers; at least the reviews, both good and bad, are consumed with a grain of salt.

Amazon presumably owns imdb.com, which links to professional reviews of films. This has not stopped bad movies from being made, viewed or bought.

We cannot account for tastes, and educating people is hopeless, and in some cases, elitist.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:36 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by Fat Abe View Post
This would never happen on a site which sells merchandise. Amateur reviews are ignored by customers; at least the reviews, both good and bad, are consumed with a grain of salt.

I pay attention to 'amateur reviews' - with that requisite grain of salt. I have found the reviews of other regular consumers to be very helpful. Now and then I double-check to see if the reviewer seems to be a real person, with reviews for other sorts of products. You do have to watch out for the shills. Maybe that's what is bringing the 'amateur review' system into disrepute.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:46 PM   #205
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Originally Posted by Shushan View Post

I pay attention to 'amateur reviews' - with that requisite grain of salt. I have found the reviews of other regular consumers to be very helpful.
Hear hear - I base almost all of my book buying decisions these days on "amateur reviews": those of people I know, offline or on.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:07 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
A few things:

(i) there are a lot of people (both religious and secular philosophers) who would disagree that morality is just a "matter of opinion";

(ii) even if it is just opinion, not all opinions are equally valid (this seems to be a common fallacy people ascribe to); and

(iii) calling this behaviour "immoral" or "unethical" stretches those words to the point of meaninglessness.

If we're going to go so crazy as to say that this is immoral, why not go all the way and describe it as "retail terrorism"? Would that opinion be equally valid?
How about just plain" dishonest"? Unless you tell the salesperson that you already have decided to buy online, you are lying by omission.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:55 AM   #207
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The book shops could introduce price matching like some of the electronic shops have introduced that the comparison shopper could get the discount and the normal shopper wont. This should actually increase the revenue of book shops as well as get more customers into the stores.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:16 AM   #208
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How about just plain" dishonest"? Unless you tell the salesperson that you already have decided to buy online, you are lying by omission.
Let's say that I find a product that I like at store A, with the intention to buy that product at store A. I then go to store B to check the price, ask a few unanswered questions about the product, and perhaps to see what else they have. Even though there is an opportunity for the second store to get my business, I'm still going in there with the intention to buy from the original store.

Is this 'just plain dishonesty'? I must wholeheartedly disagree. It is called comparison shopping. It has been practiced for generations, and it has been practiced for generations for a good reason: a fool and their money are soon parted. People who buy without doing their research is a fool (at least when it comes to money).

I find this whole showrooming conspiracy a bit overblown. Showrooming makes sense for expensive products like televisions and computers, but not for low cost items like books. If you are that cheap, why would you waste money on gas and loose sight of the monetary value of your time?
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:24 AM   #209
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Despite thinking it's wrong to use the knowledge of a shop with no intention of buying from them (and I don't think you can compare that to browsing online and reading user reviews to that), I don't see a lot wrong with that scenario BWinmill..... it's a fine line!
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:37 AM   #210
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Despite thinking it's wrong to use the knowledge of a shop with no intention of buying from them (and I don't think you can compare that to browsing online and reading user reviews to that), I don't see a lot wrong with that scenario BWinmill..... it's a fine line!
Ok...so what if you go in to the store to simply look at and touch the physical object, but don't use "the knowledge of a shop"? If I don't talk to a salesperson at the store, is it still wrong? If I go in intending to buy it if the object is comparable in price to the online store, does that make it better? (And I have found things that were the same price or cheaper in store than they were online)

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