Kindle,, Barnes and Noble and how it all mixes up.

I was recently reading a yahoo group post about kindle etiquette in looking at books in a local bookstore such as barnes and nobles and then purchasing the book on your kindle from I really got into my musing about the appropriateness of this and wrote my musings down for what they are worth.

The mega book store chains have just about killed the smaller book
stores at this point. Used book stores are just about gone in general
though I will admit there are exceptions. When I was a kid 30 years
ago we had 4 or 5 used bookstores in my area, there are none left now.
We used to have about 5 different chain stores in this area 15 years
ago.. Now only Barnes and Noble and Books a Million are left. The
kindle and the generations of devices that will follow it will kill
the big chains also unless they somehow capture a piece of the market
and change with it.

The fundamental feature of the kindle that will kill the brick and
mortar stores is that it is a store in it’s own right. No matter where
you are your standing in Amazon’s store (in real time) if you have a
kindle in your hand.

I’m not sure what the future of Barnes and Nobles or Books a Million
or other brick and mortar style stores will be.. There is a large
percentage of the time that I go in there that I just go to sit in the
cafe socially and maybe read a few magazines or hang out with
friends.. (this is a market of sorts that the kindle can’t compete
with. However I’m not sure that it is enough of a market to be
profitable into the future.

In a way technology is drastically changing the way we socialize. The
internet is at the core of that as a medium of communication. It now
encompasses personal written communications ranging from email to
instant messaging, audible communications, video communications etc.
What it is taking away is face to face interactions. It has changed
our culture in major ways already.. It will be interesting to see how
the evolution of these technology’s continue to change us.

As to taking a kindle into the the bigger bookstores.. well they are
already marketing themselves not just as a book store but as a
cafe/social center. They have crossed into a blurry area. On the one
hand they have put the smaller chains out of business with a cafe
stratagem that makes a bookstore not just a place to buy a book but a
place to come and relax with a book. Or hang out with a friend and
socialize or hold a meeting in their cafe with a couple other people
or have a entire social club (such as a spanish club) meet there with
15 or 20 people. But in the new age we live in they have also opened
up their business to people and interests that they cater to that
doesn’t directly support the bookstore component of the business
model. Do you feel guilty if you arrange to meet in barnes and noble
to get a light lunch and have a business meeting? I doubt you would.
Would you feel guilty going into any restraunt for lunch with your
kindle and reading and buying books from Amazon on it at the same
time. Again I doubt it. That leads us back to using your kindle in
barnes and noble.. using the above logic I wouldn’t have any problem
using my kindle there. 🙂

Next we address purchasing books from amazon after looking at them on
the shelves in barnes and noble. 🙂 how many times have you looked at
books on amazons website and then bought the book locally? Amazon is
now just about the top source for finding books or information about a
title. If I want to know what other books an author has written that
are available, the first place I look is amazon. They list books not
in print or in stock even with third party vendors used. So obviously
they intend to provide a service that doesn’t directly generate
revenue. They hope you will buy something because you came and looked
but don’t require it. Paperbacks are no cheaper on amazon than at the
local bookstore plus you have to wait to get them delivered. I mostly
buy paperbacks locally… cheaper than on amazon with my 10% discount
at the local mega bookstores. I purchase hardbacks mostly on amazon
for 30 to 45% discounts and free shipping much cheaper than I can
normally buy them in my local mega-store.. I am the customer and they
are the ones adapting to best provide the goods and services that I
will use. I don’t feel guilty doing any of this. I spend 1000+ dollars
a year in Barnes and Noble alone for books etc.. I guess if you never
bought anything at all in there that it would be kinda rude but if all
you did was come in and buy a frapachino and order a book from amazon
after looking at the ones on the shelves at least you bought a
frapachino from them. If you had never come in at all then they
wouldn’t have even made that much off of you. So if your going to go
order from amazon in the first place go buy a coffee and enjoy your
new book in the cafe 🙂

1 comment to Kindle,, Barnes and Noble and how it all mixes up.

  • Benjamin

    As a ten year Barnes and Noble employee, I found this article quite interesting. I havent yet seen any customers with Kindles in my store, although many have asked if we will be selling them anytime soon. Sadly, the answer is no as of now. However, I disagree with the conclusion that the Kindle and other wireless readers will be the death of brick and motor stores. There is still something intrinsically pleasurable about a physical copy of a book that an electronic device, no matter how advaanced, can duplicate. IN addition, the impending death of BORDERS will mean that we will be the only alternative to Amazon. In fact, if you look down the road 5 or 10 years, I predict you will see the two entities merging. Bamazon anyone?

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