Thursday, August 11, 2011

How bookstores might survive

So I just read literary agent Rachelle Gardner's post on why she is the reason why Borders closed (grin). She went in to Borders, saw two books she absolutely had to have, but she didn't want to have to carry around the hardcovers, so she went outside the store and sat on a bench and ordered them from a Kindle. And a week later, Borders closed. (I'd have a complex about that too).

 But, I could totally relate. I'm just like Rachelle and I'm guessing like a lot of others - I still love to hold books - I love their covers, the feel of the paper, plus I love to share them after I'm done (I just gave away seven new releases - see the winners here).

But there are times when I'd rather buy the e-version too (and that will increase more and more as the different e-reader companies sort out their sharing/loaning policies). I love that the e-books are searchable so I can find that favorite sentence again, or even better, highlight and save notes and even share my notes with other readers.

I really hate to see bookstores close. So this is just a random idea that popped into my head, I haven't really thought it through, so I'm curious to see if ya'll think this might work or if there are flaws in the philosophy. But here's what would make me excited to keep buying from bookstores:

You walk into a bookstore, and you see several displays - one for each different genre - and each display features ten or so books, some new releases, some best-sellers, some debut authors. Each display also has sitting smack in the middle of it an e-reader - a Nook or Kindle or a Sony - whatever brand the bookstore has made a deal with; or maybe they could make a deal with multiple brands.

And they've also made a deal with the publishers on of the books on the display so that YOU COULD BUY A BUNDLED PACKAGE OF BOOKS ALONG WITH AN E-READER. If you already have an e-reader, you get a discount on the bundle of books (e-versions). If don't yet have an e-reader, you get a discount on the e-reader because the publishers would subsidize the e-reader in order to get you to buy a bundle of their books.

Kind of a similar concept to how Amazon has those 4 for 3 deals on books. So, hypothetical case: I'm reluctant to invest in an e-reader, but if I walked into a Barnes and Noble and  I could buy a Nook with, say, 10 books on it for a bundled deal of say, $125 (a discount subsidized by both B & N and the publishers - don't know if it's realistic) -- I'd buy that puppy right away.

Actually, I'd check out some other bookstores to see what sort of bundled offers they might have with other e-readers first.

But I'd be sure to come back in a few months to see what sort of deal I could get on another bundle of books for my new e-reader.

You could also opt to buy the paper versions of the book-bundle, too.

Anyway, just a thought. I'm a voracious reader, so the idea of book-bundles really appeals to me, but I realize your average citizen doesn't read as much. I'm certainly no business model expert.What think ye? 

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