I’m coming to peace with killing bookshops
It’s been four years since I started reading books electrically, it took a long time for me to embrace the medium as I enjoyed calling into my local bookshop to peruse the latest titles or to discover something new.
The portability between devices, along with the reduced weight of the device versus the physical form was of great benefit to me, this did not reduce the guilt about what I along with many others were inflicting upon our local bookstores.
The positives I have gained from reading digitally are amazing. I am now reading more than ever before. My consumption of trashy TV has reduced. Reading in the digital era has introduced me to different authors and styles of books I would never have read before, and in turn, authors have sold more books because I am reading more.
The only negative is the high street book retailer. A dying breed amongst our shopkeepers.
Which got me thinking, it’s time for the book retailers to change the model. No longer should the primary focus be on book sales, but on discovery. Book retailers should introduce readers clubs and regular speaking events to aid discovery, funded by ticket sales, membership dues and sales of food and beverages.
Book sales can be continued, by fostering partnerships with the online digital retailers, the physical retailer can take a percentage of the book sale with each purchase using affiliate programs. This, in turn, will reduce floor space, reducing costs.
Local councils should also see the social benefits of this changing bookstore, massively reducing business rates and charges, highlighting the social importance of literature for the community.
I'm sure there are some excellent examples of this evolution already happening, unfortunately it does not yet appear to be happening close to me. I hope the industry evolves and prospers, as the expertise of our book retailers is too important to lose