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Old 11-05-2009, 02:15 PM   #1
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Duh - I finally Get the Problem

A couple times a year, we used to go to the local bookstore (Borders, not a cute independent) and my husband and I would both buy a couple hundred dollars worth of books, to last us until our next bookstore run. But since I got my kindle, all my book shopping has been online. Online at the library, dependent upon Overdrive's listing of what I might like, online at Amazon, based on a book I might have heard about. I thought it was great, that I wasn't wasting an afternoon at the bookstore, wasting gas, looking for a parking spot, etc. But I wonder what books I am missing.

On the one hand, I am no longer able to judge a book by its cover. But what does this mean for us as a society? Of course, the bookstore was censoring what I would see, so I guess we are just switching to another censor, perhaps a more egalatarian one in the internet.

But maybe that is just the way shopping is evolving - I haven't been inside a yarn shop, for example, in five years - all my shopping is over the internet. And knitting is a more tactile activity than reading.

I see a big shift in how reading material is delivered. I guess it is no different than the shifts we have seen in other delivery models, such as yarn buying. The internet put the local yarn store out of business, and it will probably put the stand-alone bookstores out of business.

I would appreciate any further education - I am slow, but maybe I can join the conversation.

Thanks, Debra
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:33 PM   #2
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The change has been evolving for years. I used to be able to buy books in independent book stores each of which had a unique character and a varied selection. Today, the indies are all but gone and Borders, B&N and the like are really the only choices. I'm not sure the varied online stores are an improvement, but they certainly are adding choices to the mix again.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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The internet shopping phenomenon has almost eliminated our ability to browse.

I can look at Amazon and see "books like this one" and "books other people who bought this one, also bought" and "booklists of recommendations including this one," but I can't see "books by authors with last names starting with the same letter as this on, in the same rough category." There isn't any "show me this book on a shelf as it would be in a store."

There are also problems with checking quality... I can see a nice pair of shoes online, and maybe even assume the sizing is correct, but I can't tell if the heel is at an angle that annoys me. Can't tell if the fancy stitching scrapes against my thumb when I buckle the straps. In the case of books, I can't tell if it's printed on cheap paper, or if the binding feels like it's about to split open. Can't tell how heavy the cover is, if that matters to me.

And, of course, when I buy a book from Amazon, the checkout line doesn't have a nice bin of highlighters and bookmarks to choose from.

I think it'll take a while for brick-and-mortar stores to figure out what they can offer that online shopping areas can't.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:47 PM   #4
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I buy most of my stuff online anymore, because even after shipping it still comes out cheaper than if I were to buy it locally. If I can get it cheaper locally, you bet your butt I will buy it there. Simple economics, I go where ever it is cheaper.

Now, somethings I still buy locally, and only locally. Shoes for instance. I wear a size 15, but since they are more uncommon, and at the larger end of the scale, their sizes wildly vary. The boots I am wearing now are 14s, and I've got as large as 17 before. Also, when it comes to things that have specific properties, such as feel, I try to buy locally.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:17 PM   #5
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Considering I don't get to the city much, where there IS a bookstore, I buy most of my books of the internet. When I DO get to town I am way too busy getting things done to browse. Who wants to look at books when your feet hurt and you are exhausted?

If you haven't guessed yet, I live in a tiny town, without more things everyone takes for granted. Heck, we don't even have a traffic light!
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:24 PM   #6
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Considering I don't get to the city much, where there IS a bookstore, I buy most of my books of the internet. When I DO get to town I am way too busy getting things done to browse. Who wants to look at books when your feet hurt and you are exhausted?

If you haven't guessed yet, I live in a tiny town, without more things everyone takes for granted. Heck, we don't even have a traffic light!
A visit to the bookstore is the best of going to town!
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:27 PM   #7
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Some bookstores are still doing well. Locally, Powells (www.powells.com) still attracts a lot of browsers. While I'm a country dweller, I still manage to purchase about 1/2 of my books at brick and mortar bookstores.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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Does anyone else, when visiting a morter/brick bookstore, get completely overwhelmed?

I walk in, knowing what I want, and a couple hours later wake up and realize I've been wandering the store like a lost soul.........so many aises, and choices, and pretty shiny covers!

Lets not even bring up the 'accessories' aisles.........and now....the calendars are here!
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:36 PM   #9
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Does anyone else, when visiting a morter/brick bookstore, get completely overwhelmed?
Of course.. That's one of the joys..

Powells in Portland is one city block square, three stories high. If don't find what you're looking for, you always find something.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:39 PM   #10
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Of course.. That's one of the joys..

Powells in Portland is one city block square, three stories high. If don't find what you're looking for, you always find something.
Sounds like a "destination" vacation. I can't imagine the fun.....
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:12 PM   #11
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I just wrote a post about it in the other bookstore related thread. I think the bookstores that survive will have coffee, comfy chair, have organised book clubs in all genres, have print copies simply so you can browse in a tactile way before ordering the ebook. If they offer additional value compared to simply buying the ebook online in such a sterile way then they will flourish.

I think book buyers are social creatures in some respects - they rely upon each other to find new books to read, they love discussing/debating books. Buying online is such an isolated way to buy and learn about new books. Bookstores have an oppportunity to morph and get behind these books. But what they WILL need is a good deal from publishers, better than what Amazon get so they get at least $4-5 of the total from each ebook sold.

People also like supporting the local shop, so getting the opportunity to buy it through them would be welcome for many people.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:17 PM   #12
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I don't think that store browsing and e-reading are mutually exclusive. I still love going to the local bookstore, sitting down with a pile of books and browsing through them to figure out which ones I want. I just don't buy them in the store anymore. I write down the titles, then go online to purchase them for my e-reader.

That's why I think more retailers need to move to allow e-book downloads right there in the store. Then I wouldn't feel so guilty about browsing there and buying elsewhere.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:35 PM   #13
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A Modest Proposal

It would be nice if the publishers would sell copies of eBooks with the DRM keyed to the SD chip the book is on at the time of purchase: one book to one SD chip. Brick and Mortor book stores would have a unique identifier and would use a PC with one or more SD slots to sell eBooks that are keyed this way.

The idea is that customers who buy books at a B&M store would be able to sell or share them like a physical book, but you could only get them by going into a B&M store to buy them. The SD chip would probably have to incode the book chip with the identifier for the store where it was purchased, date purchased and purchase price or something, and they might have to design some sort of read-only SD card that could be locked to further recording once a book is copied to it. The scheme would promote B&M book stores, large and small, which do add value and give us book buyers a motive to go to a book store for eBooks. Book stores would never run out of the digital edition of books and could supply just about any book in an eBook format for every customer. Of course, the ordinary DRM schemes used now, that lock our books to a specific device eBook reader or a specific user, would still be sold over the internet too.

OK, I know. There's probably some reason this can't work or someone would have thought of it. That's why I didn't want to embarrase myself by posting the idea, but here it is just the same.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:43 PM   #14
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I don't think that store browsing and e-reading are mutually exclusive. I still love going to the local bookstore, sitting down with a pile of books and browsing through them to figure out which ones I want. I just don't buy them in the store anymore. I write down the titles, then go online to purchase them for my e-reader.

That's why I think more retailers need to move to allow e-book downloads right there in the store. Then I wouldn't feel so guilty about browsing there and buying elsewhere.
I think that's the premise behind the B&N Nook. You can go to the Brick & Mortar and browse to you heart’s content either on paper or on your Nook. Then buy what you want right there and be off.

Best of both worlds.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:11 PM   #15
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Heya, 6charlong,

There is no embarrassment necessary in having an idea. And if you don't put your idea out there, no one will be able to consider its value.

Your idea is similar to another posted regarding CD kiosks for the same purpose. Like his, it is not so much that you shouldn't mention it because if it would work, someone would be using it. It is more like, mention it anyway cuz the more it is mentioned, the better the idea might sound to those making those kinds of decisions.

There is an old adage that if you keep bringing up an idea, pretty soon you will get the idea back as if the other person thot of it. And once they think they thought of it, they also then think it is a great idea.

So keep it up.
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