Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Amazon and Brick & Mortar Bookstores

February 24th, 2013 by Debbie's World of Books

I was talking to some friends about how I miss browsing through books at an actual bookstore vs online and how hard it is to even get to one these days.  I got a few books for Christmas that I’ve already read but by now it’s probably too late to return them.   My friend bought them at Barnes & Noble and even gave me gift receipts but the nearest location is about 45 minutes away from me so I just never made it out there.   I really wish there was a way an actual bookstore would be able to survive in this economy and against the competition of Amazon because I desperately miss my bookstores!

Why I like browsing in person?

One reason is that I rarely went into a bookstore with a particular title in mind.  Instead I liked to wander through the New Books section or the other display tables, see what caught my eye and then pick a book to buy.  I found many a great authors this way.

Even with Amazon’s “suggestions” it’s not the same experience.  In fact, I rarely buy a book on Amazon spontaneously.  I usually go on there because I need/want a specific title.

How do I picture an Amazon-Bookstore partnership?

I get that many bookstores find it hard to compete with Amazon and their low prices but a lot of people I know say they do still prefer browsing books in person rather than online.  So being completely non-business (umm…unbusiness…lack of business…you know what I mean right?) minded I wonder if there will ever be Amazon brick & mortar bookstores or independent bookstores that can partner with Amazon?  I mean can we really get to a point where there is no such thing as a bookstore anymore?  Is it inevitable that Amazon will rule the marketplace and does it make sense to keep fighting against it vs bookstores partnering with Amazon?

This is what I was picturing as a compromise between no bookstores and my dream store filled with endless bookshelves.  The number of physical books available for sale would probably be limited to bestsellers and some themed/grouped books of more eclectic tastes.  I would want to highlight some more obscure but awesome titles that customers would not have found on their own.  I picture this being a revolving display that changes out over the months.

In addition to these books there would be maybe laminated covers and book blurbs of books on display that aren’t available right away in the store but that you could order from Amazon.  There would be kiosks on-site that customers could use to order their books whether they be ebooks or physical books.  The bookstores could get the prime shipping benefits of 1-2 delivery and a cut of the sale in commission.  This would mean the customers would get their cake and eat it too by being able to browse in person, get the lower price and have a quick delivery.

I think this could also help ebooks that are not also published in physical copies get more exposure as well because they could have their covers on display as well rather than just hoping a reader stumbles across it online.


I would also want to incorporate some sitting/lounging areas where people could relax and immediately read say their ebook book that they just purchased while enjoying a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

For the children’s section there could be story times and a plug to order or buy the books that were read then and there.

I know there are a lot of technical aspects over how the commission would work, keeping people’s accounts private, etc. but still wouldn’t that be great?  Would you shop at a bookstore that was more of a store front for online ordering?  Do you miss book browsing in bookstores?

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