Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Meet Me Halfway, Barnes & Noble

Photo courtesy of www.retailbiz.com.au

by TakingaDayOff

I bought an ebook from Barnes & Noble the other day – no, not barnesandnoble.com. I actually went into the store and walked out with a digital book. For me this was the best of both worlds. I shopped in a bricks and mortar store, browsed through dead tree books, had a coffee and listened to some new music, then bought a book in the format I like best, while supporting my favorite bookstore.

Our family bought a membership at Barnes & Noble earlier this year. Although we prefer the convenience (and adjustable font size) of ebooks, we enjoy browsing through the bookstore a couple times a week and would miss it if it went out of business. So we buy hardcover and paperback books a few times a month, hoping that there are enough customers like us to keep B&N solvent.

Even with the coupons B&N keeps sending as a perk of the membership, buying physical books is more expensive than buying ebooks. One of the coupons they sent recently was for an ebook for $6.99, a change from the usual 20% off coupons good on physical items only. I was pretty sure that we'd get to the cashier with our coupon and there would be some exception I'd missed and we'd discover the coupon was only good for our choice from a short list of last year's best sellers. But there was no problem -- we told the clerk what book we wanted (American Pulp: How PaperbacksBrought Modernism to Main Street), she found it in the database, verified our email address, and rang up the books. For good measure, we also bought a paperback (Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of theSilver Screen).

So now I'm wondering why we can't buy all of our ebooks from the neighborhood bookstore. Since they are already painfully aware that many people use the stores as showrooms, giving the books a test drive before they end up buying them online from Amazon or Kobo, why not go with it? Put a scan code next to each book and let people buy them and download them on the spot.

Just because I like to read ebooks doesn't mean I don't care about my local bookstore. Meet me halfway, Barnes & Noble!


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