Friday, July 27, 2007

What Do You Want to See from Independent Bookstores?

Large bookstore chains might seem like a no-brainer but I'm one of the people who believe that independent bookstores--especially local independent bookstores--do stand a chance against their bigger competition. They may not match the bookstore chains in terms of price but that's not to say they can't provide other services which make them appealing.

For example, not only do I get email updates from A Different Bookstore and Booktopia but I also get text message updates when new stocks arrive (especially the latter, whose text message includes specific books I might be interested in... of course I'm seemingly unpredictable in terms of book purchases so I've stopped getting text messages from them simply because they don't know what to text me!) or when my orders are in their stores. The simple service of a text message isn't viable when you're a bookstore chain simply because you have too large of a customer base (whether it's costing you time or money).

Another strength of independent bookstores are their book ordering systems. While you can order books from bookstore chains, because they're larger and employ more staff, there's also more red tape to wade through. Ordering from independent bookstores is as simple as entering the front door and going to the counter to place your order.

Then there's also the familiarity of the shopkeepers/managers. I mean when I enter A Different Bookstore or Booktopia or Aeon Books, the ones manning the counter who know me can easily point me to newly stocked titles that I might be interested in. Or it's something as simple as knowing my name.

So, what are other benefits an independent bookstore might provide that will interest you in patronizing their shop rather than the bigger bookstore chains?

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