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Old 02-12-2013, 08:49 AM   #106
Ninjalawyer
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Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
Under its current implementation in the US, I'd make that exact argument. I don't have all my proof in hand (for example, a quote from a business major that CEOs are paid the big bucks because they go into the legal grey areas so the company can make big bucks), but I'd even go so far as to argue that laissez-faire capitalism and ethics are mutually exclusive.
Wow, a quote from a business major would have certainly convinced me that all capitalism everywhere is bad and wrong. Too bad you couldn't find it, I was this close to reforming my ways and opening a puppy-farming collective. Guess I'll just head to work now and foreclose on a few orphanages instead.

Protip: Condemning all of capitalism in a vaguely related topic is an easy way to get people to ignore your arguments.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:51 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
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.
I respectfully disagree. If you browse through a bookshop you use a service it offers -- a service online booksellers don't offer. If then you go and buy a book you got interested in at the bookshop from an online vendor to save two or three bucks you have abused the service of the bookshop.

Inevitably, stone and mortar bookshops close their doors. In my opinion, not a sole consequence of a failed business model, but also a consequence of many customers considering 'cheap, cheap, cheap' the highest ethical standard.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #108
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I wonder if managers of bookstores and shop assistants browse books in other stores?
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:06 AM   #109
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I did have this conversation with a family member once, when browsing at B&N. She saw a book, then checked her phone to see how much it was at Amazon, and it was slightly less. I said, "The reason it costs more is because they've paid for this store to give you the opportunity to browse the shelves and find the book. Isn't that worth the extra dollar?"

I agree with the point that if you appreciate the store being available for browsing, you should support that store and not quibble about the (generally) small difference in price. On the other hand, I don't see this as a huge moral issue.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:19 AM   #110
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This is a request to those who have asserted that browsing without buying has some kind of ethical value: can you tell me what normative ethical positions you are relying on to make this assertion?
Let me try to summarize the situation as I see it:
Vendors invest in bricks-and-mortar stores and employ sales staff in the hopes of making a sale. If a shopper visits the store and takes advantage of these services he then has a moral obligation to support the store. It's not written down anywhere; let your conscience be your guide.

If he doesn't see anything he likes and doesn't buy anything then that's fine; c'est la vie. But, if having thus determined what he wants he then deliberately leaves the store and buys it online because it's cheaper then that's just not right. He's taken advantage of the vendor - essentially gotten something for nothing. If everyone did that there would be no stores.

The reason why this differs from traditional "comparison shopping" is the vast difference in the cost of operating a B&M store vs. an online store. This is something new, as a result of digital technology, and that's why traditional retail models are being undermined.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:27 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
Protip: Condemning all of capitalism in a vaguely related topic is an easy way to get people to ignore your arguments.
I said "laissez-faire" and "the current implementation." Which aren't the same thing as "all capitalism." Unless you can prove that capitalism has to be laissez-faire for some inscrutable reason, or that only laissez-faire capitalist arguments are acceptable here.

I also said that I don't have all my proof on hand. Gathering a full body of evidence including book citations and business courses would probably take several days.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:30 AM   #112
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Edit: Double post is double.

Last edited by teh603; 02-12-2013 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:51 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Apache View Post
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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Yes, I used to be a member of one company's program but dropped it when I found their selection no longer matched what I liked to read.

My suggestion was predicated on the ideas that the discount would be more significant (20-40% off), with a very large selection on hand. Retailers like Target and Walmart routinely have discounts like this but they lack the selection of regular bookstores, and they can make higher profits on other items. Can a B&M pure bookseller survive with similar discounts? I don't know.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:33 PM   #114
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If they start to do this, they deserve to go out of business. I wouldn't buy the book elsewhere for a dollar difference but there's been quite a few times where B&N was much more expensive. I have no qualms about buying it somewhere else then.

I don't go into the store planning on just browsing, I buy books here and there. But, there is nothing wrong with saving money either. If Amazon has it for much cheaper, then Amazon gets my business.

Last edited by voracious71; 02-12-2013 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:44 PM   #115
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Forgot to say, browsing charge is ridiculous. It will have negative effect of stopping people to go into bookstores at all.
You can't treat buyers like sh*t and expect them to come back. People are not idiots.
Exactly. I had a run in with a snotty B&N worker a few weeks ago. I went to go purchase something, she rolled her eyes( she was talking to a friend), and I told her that I'd changed my mind. Back went the book onto the shelf.

And yes, I bought the book later from Amazon..they had a Kindle version.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:58 PM   #116
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I respectfully disagree. If you browse through a bookshop you use a service it offers -- a service online booksellers don't offer. If then you go and buy a book you got interested in at the bookshop from an online vendor to save two or three bucks you have abused the service of the bookshop.

Inevitably, stone and mortar bookshops close their doors. In my opinion, not a sole consequence of a failed business model, but also a consequence of many customers considering 'cheap, cheap, cheap' the highest ethical standard.
I haven't "abused" the service; the very nature of the service they offer contemplates browsing but not buying, regardless of a customers reasons for not buying.

And it is a failed business model if the services and goods aren't being offered at a price customers actually want to pay. Sorry, that sounds cold (and it is) but that's how these things work in a market economy.

I tend to browse at a brick and mortar and use my smartphone to get reviews of books on Amazon.com. I tend to buy at Kobo or the physical bookstore and never at Amazon. Am I acting unethically? Or is it only unethical if it affects a business model we're interested in protecting with some sort of hand-wavy moral argument?
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:31 PM   #117
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Make shops showrooms with only display copies of books. That cuts down on needed floorspace. If a customer is "sold" on a book by the displayed copy or the staff he gets a code to enter when he orders the book or buys it online. By entering the code the customer gets a discount and the store gets credit and payment from the publisher for making the sale. Turn retail stores into essentially an advertising business paid by the publishers commisions not the customer.
What I want out of retail is instant gratification, to find exactly what I want and take it home at once and enjoy it.

Your idea would seem to work against that.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:41 PM   #118
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I think the real problem with bookstores these days is that the ratio of product to floor space has gone way down.

I went into B&N before Christmas to shop for books for my nephew. The children's books area had enough open space that I could have parked my car in it, and the actual selection of books was disappointing. I wasn't able to find the Winnie the Pooh books, for instance.

I suspect when the dust settles, the surviving bookstores will look a lot more like the mall bookstores from the 1980's: taller shelves, no play areas or coffee bar or couches, and lots more books per square foot.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:02 PM   #119
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In the town in which I lived we had one locally-owned bookstore. To be honest, if they wanted to have a membership system when members could browse, order books, and sit in chairs and relax, I would have still supported them. For a Barnes and Nobles or B. Dalton, no.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:06 PM   #120
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I don't think this will fly for books. But this may work for CE (consumer electronics)

In the US, CE chains like good guys and circuit city have gone out of business. Basically there's only (struggling) Best Buy left, plus other smaller regional chains. Now, you can list all sort of reasons such as poor management and poor customer service for their woes, but the bottom line is the B&M CE stores simply cannot survive as de facto show room for Amazon et al which do not have the same overhead and in most cases have the additional advantage of not collecting sales tax.

At some point, the B&M CE stores will all go out of business. Then what? I'm quite comfortable buying some things based solely on specs and reviews, but some things I really need to get hands on and eyes on, esp big expensive items like large screen TVs. I suspect the same for many people. Will Amazon open their own store? Will each CE mgfr open their own stores, a la Apple? I think we may see CE showrooms that charge a small entrance fee ( reimbursable if you spend some minimum amount in store).
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