Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Calling All Independent Booksellers


'tis the devil's work, I tell thee. 

Whether you like them or not, they are here to stay. Waterstones sells them, Blackwell's too. Foyles, John Lewis, Argos. Oh, and Amazon.
Some Independent bookshops have signed up to sell Kobo e-readers already. It's far too early to tell if this was the right decision or not.
We decided not to sign up, for various reasons. I guess one of those reasons was that it was the only offer on the table. We weren't given options. The Kobo might well be the best e-reader out there, but it would be nice if we could be the ones making that decision.

But we can't, because we are but one little bookshop in North London and we don't have the same clout as Waterstones or John Lewis for example.
So, before Christmas, I had a chat with a few other Indie Bookshops around the country to ask them what they thought of this idea...

Let's say 40 or 50 indie booksellers got together and decided that we wanted in on some of that ebook action. Perhaps we could decide what would be best for US. This being the case, we could then approach E-Book suppliers, as a group of shops and see if we could negotiate something better.
The Indie Bookshops I spoke to made positive noises, or as positive as Indie Bookshops get, about this idea. So i'm putting it out there.

If you're an Independent Bookshop, who'd be interested in being part a group to look at what e-reader you like and what platform for selling downloads is best for you, then let us know. You only have to be interested, that's all. What harm can being interested do??
If we can get a big enough group together, then maybe, just maybe, we can find a great solution to this issue.

email us on Enquiries @ biggreenbookshop . com
Phone us on 020 8881 6767
Twitter @biggreenbooks


James said...

Nice idea. Bookshops are a more natural place to buy e-readers than John Lewis etc who will probably pay more attention to the higher margin tablet market.

I spent some time in Waterstones in Picadilly today, and it was impossible to find the books I wanted (if you have anything on Totalitarianism I would be interested)! We had to go on Amazon just to see whether the book existed or not. If you could network with other indie bookshops and their catalogues, that might be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I have an e-reader from Hive who operate throgh Gardners & a percentage of whatever I spend on e-books goes directly to whichever independent bookshop I nominate. However, since I work in a bookshop, I only really use it for books I can't afford, which renders it a bit redundant. However, other non-bookshop employees have welcomed the idea as a step in the right direction, so it might just be worth a punt. It's not a massive money-spinner, but I'd rather any 'excess' profit went to a bookshop I love rather than a tax-free corporation.
Also, you get a percentage of sales of any e-readers sold through the shop.

Anonymous said...

I meant "through" obviously. I'm not completly stupid. Although my keyboard clearly is

Andy said...

No reason at all why you shouldn't sell e-readers. Im sure your customers would prefer to buy them from you than a faceless company, as long as the price was competitive.

For me though the wider debate is where independent book shops fit in the actual distribution of e-books. We just had a chat about this in the office and really I think it comes down to the same reason that people would buy a e-reader from independent book shops, brand loyalty and wanting to support local business. If a person could buy a ebook from yourselves or Amazon for a similar price, I am sure they would buy them from you.

Of course I haven't got a clue about pricing or whether its even feasible but worth looking into to.

Simon Key said...

Thanks for the comments Andy. This is a huge part of the plan and I totally agree with you. Personally, i'm much more interested in selling e-books than the readers themselves. In an ideal world (this is just my opinion), there would be an Amazonesque website that would allow the buyer to choose which virtual outlet they get the ebook from. This would reward the places that have connected with their customers in the real world. I hope that makes sense. It does in my head.

Vada said...

This is cool!