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Monday, March 14, 2011

Small bookstores in a digital era

One of our members, Roger DeLarco at East Stroudsberg University forwarded this USA Today article to me a couple weeks ago and I have been meaning to post it. The piece provides advice and suggestions to small booksellers in an increasingly competitive landscape that includes digital, such as knowing your niche, creating community, and thinking about the experience. The piece highlights a small independent bookseller in Rhinebeck, NY -- just a very short distance from where I live. The general theme of an independent store creating a sense of community should resonate with many small retailers.

One other paragraph of interest is the following one, which highlights some of the risk in partnering with just anyone, and the importance for stores to have a digital strategy. Stores must think about partnering for sure, but recognize that not all partners are there for mutual benefit.

Borders, which has had three CEOs in the past three years, was slow to develop a digital strategy. It sells reading devices and has an e-bookstore powered by Kobo, a Toronto-based e-retailer. But from 2001 to 2008, it outsourced its online sales to Amazon. "It was utterly stupid for Borders to borrow their future from a company that didn't want them to even have a future," says Michael Norris, an analyst with Simba Information, a market researcher.
Thanks, Roger.

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