Last night, I stopped by a Borders’ going-out-of-business sale.
As much as the behemoth bookseller has been criticized and ridiculed, it’s always sad to see a marketplace of knowledge suffer (or in this case die). But, even last night, as everything was marked down 50%, 60% in an effort of mass liquidation, I still noticed the glaring, fatal flaw that gave them their death sentence – even at the heavily discounted prices, going-out-of-business prices at that, I could still get any of the books I was finding on Amazon for less money.
But, don’t point the finger at Amazon. It’s not their fault. It’s Borders’ fault. For not changing. For not improving their in-store experience like these Indie Bookstores are (via Fast Company).
For instance, right around the corner from our office is a little (but growing), St. Louis-based indie bookstore. While I do often buy books on Amazon, I still frequent this bookstore – browsing and purchasing books, checking industry rags and seeing who’s coming in for the next signing. They offer an experience that I can’t get online – and I appreciate that. It’s not always about price, especially when it comes to the experience of buying a hard-copy, hold-in-your-hands book. After all, that’s why I’m buying a book (vs. e-book) in the first place – the experience, the reward of keeping it on a shelf after I’m done.
Another example of doing it right is this bookstore in Brooklyn – who is streaming in-store reading live on its website. If viewers decide to buy a book online, they can…and, well, it comes autographed by the author. How’s that for turning your worst enemy into your number-one sales tool?
Just some thinking I found worth sharing. While we cover marketing on this blog, we also cover thinking that inspires us. And these bookstores are doing just that.