Last week I talked about some articles I read about different options to maybe save the independent bookstores from going the way of the dodo. If you didn't get a chance to read my post, you can find it here. I said I would be in favor of either special memberships or print on demand kiosks in bookstores to help fight against the huge industry competitor Amazon.
This week I came across an article in Forbes magazine by Phil Johnson written in 2012 about one such independent bookstore who decided to fight back for their little piece of the publishing pie and won. You can read about their success story here.
It got me thinking about the whole book publishing industry. Printing books has been around for centuries...from the biblical Ten Commandments for those of us who follow that particular line of thinking to monks hidden away in a monastery as they tediously copy books by hand to today.
The digital age doesn't have to bring an end to hard bound creations. Digital technology can sometimes even breathe new life into long forgotten books. At Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, new owner Jeff Mayersohn decided to compete in some small way with Amazon by installing one of the Expresso Book Machines smack dab in the middle of his store. There he invites his customers to purchase their favorite digital stories and have them printed in less than four minutes. That could be seen as the best of both worlds, right?
This marketing ploy to make maybe an impulse purchase isn't very different at my local Barnes and Noble. The manager there has strategically placed comfortable chairs around the store to encourage their clientele to kick back and read a great book with the hope they will eventually decide to take it home.
But hey, how about taking it one step further? Why not do what some gaming stores do when they allow their customers to try out the new games before they buy them? Independent bookstores could set up readily accessible e-readers and computers via a "digital cafe" right there in the store for customers to check out the latest digital books. Then, they can simply select and print out any e-book in a handy hard bound edition to take home. This would work especially well for children's picture books where kids could still curl up on mom or dad's lap and turn the pages to another grand adventure. And those Expresso Book Machines have the capability of even printing out-of-print or hard-to-find books so just think of the thrill of holding a copy of a book you thought was lost forever.
While I'm still not a huge fan of my Kindle, this certainly give me a new appreciation of e-publishing and the future of the indie bookstore.
How about you? Would YOU check out the new e-books at your local digital cafe and then print off a copy or two?