Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Talk: Bookstores vs. Amazon and other online retailers (and the importance of bookstores)

Reading the Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell brought a feeling of warmth and joy but at the same time made me think (again) of all the bookstores out there that they are either closed or they are struggling with sales. Despite the fact that bookstores can actually organize amazing events and host author signings , people still choose to shop online (including myself) rather on said bookstore.

Bookstores were always fascinating to me and I bet to a lot of people as well, they are quiet and promise you the discovery of a great adventure. I worked in a famous bookstore in the States and I had customers from every walks of life coming in the store looking for their next favorite book. As booksellers we did everything possible to sell a book or recommend something new to the customer but despite our efforts and love for books in the end around 60% of the customers decided to buy the books online. It was funny how we dreaded the moment the customer would look at the price in the back and how we would wince. I had a good discount on books working there but I never bought anything from the store and I chose Amazon because of the better prices (yes even with the discount that I had, Amazon was still cheaper).

Moving in England around a month ago, I came to realize that British do it differently. Books here ARE cheaper than in the U.S. and they have exactly the same price as . I think that within this month I bought 30 books (planning a post on that) and it was pretty cheap. I love how bookstores here have great promos like buy one get one half price and seem to antagonize online retailers. People actually shop in store rather online. I understand that America is a vast country and you need a car to go everywhere and the taxes aren't helping either so people prefer to shop online but that needs to change and I plan to change that bad habit myself.

Brick and mortal bookstores are needed. Kids discover great books in there, they go on adventures and lets face it is a lot better to actually browse the books on the shelf rather on a screen. Booksellers and other shoppers can give you recommendations and you can actually feel and even smell the books as you open them to discover whats in there. You can't read the entire book or just open it on a random page online, can you?

So, one of my challenges for 2015 (sneak peak everyone) is to read as many paperbacks as possible and all bought from my local Bookstore.

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