Thoughts from a conversation about ebooks today:

Booksellers refusing to adapt to new technology & look for ways to sell books in a format customers want, instead putting out bitterness & resentment aren't doing themselves any favours.

Change is scary when new technology disrupts established business models but shaming readers for wanting ebooks won't stop it. I just don't want to buy stuff from people who make me feel bad.

If you won't sell me a fucking ebook, plenty of people will.

There are lots of possibilities for small/independent shops to partner w/ second tier online companies like Kobo and integrate electronic sales into their brick & mortar locations to mutual benefit.

Barnes and Noble had really well thought out in-store technology that allowed ebook sales integrated with a physical location. They should have spun it off and licensed the shit out of it; every Starbucks and airplane could've been a Barnes and Noble.

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Reality is shopping sucks. Taking the time to go to a special building to buy an object needs to be worth that time either by making it cheaper or by offering something one can't get clicking "add to cart" that makes it worthwhile.

Cheaper is nearly impossible.

Choosing clothing in a store means you can try it on, buying food in the shop means you can choose ripe produce, buying yarn you can feel the texture. Those are incentives.

Bookshops need an incentive beyond "We sell objects!"

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Physical bookshops can't compete by being cheaper or more convenient than Amazon or having better selection; they can compete by offering an experience Amazon doesn't, by creating a space people want to visit and spend time.

Very few of the independent bookstores I've been in do this. Most often they're cramped, there's nowhere to sit, and being in them feels awkward and intrusive.

If browsing books in a shop is less pleasant than doing it online, why put on pants?

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But!

A bookstore can be the most amazing bookstore in the world, it can do everything right in terms of being a place people *want* to spend time and money, but if they can't or won't sell books in the form readers want to buy, it doesn't matter.

Publishing and bookselling is a weird business; especially the fetish around printed matter, as if every mass market paperback is a sacred object. (While pulping something like 70% of them.)

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I think it must be that publishing/bookselling as an industry tends to be technology resistant/illiterate; there's no other reason in an AR era when I can hunt invisible monsters all over the world using my phone, I can't buy an ebook from a bookshop I'm physically standing in.

That's so weird to me.

And it's so weird that booksellers who look at someone reading on a Kindle & resent it don't understand the problem isn't that ebooks exist; it's that they don't sell them.

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@frankiesaxx i mean, being realistic here, the problem for them is pretty much that ebooks and amazon exist.

i think you're right there's _probably_ no reason for physical shops not to enable those purchases, but all the same bookstores will for the most part cease to exist in the world except inasmuch as they tap the physical place / physical goods desires of people who like _books as objects_, and i don't think the people running them are under a whole lot of illusions about why that is.

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@brennen That genie isn't going back in the bottle though.

There's a food import shop in my town. Nothing I can't order online or buy in a closer shop. Soda, dry pasta, candy etc. But they have a nice setup with aesthetic displays, good location near two restaurants and an indoor plaza. A couple nights a week they reopen after hours as a microbar mixing their own cocktails.

They sell food I can get lots of places. But in a way that makes it worth a trip to *their* store.

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