Amazon has Confirmed its 10th Bookstore

Welp.

By thevebd of thus calendar year Amazon will have 10 (!) bookstores. Who would have thought this day would ever come? I’m still waiting for one in Houston. I feel left out at the moment. They began in Washington state and went to the east coast, then back to Washington. I mean, there’s this whole swath of land they just passed over!

I probably wouldn’t even buy anything. I just want to see what all the fuss is about. Is that so bad? Houston has plenty of commercial space available for one of these stores. Come here!

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DON’T BELIEVE HER

Sue Grafton is one of the most respected authors today. She’s written the Kinsey Millhone series of books set in California. I’ve read five or six books in the series, which I found underwhelming. And now she’s making THESE statements? No.

“…I’d like to remind you that a book is a perfect gift.”

“One size fits all and no calories…”

BOOKS ARE NOT THE PERFECT GIFT. NO MATTER WHO SAYS SO. And signed books are meaningless in today’s world. The only positive from this post is that the books are free, but even then I wouldn’t force any book onto any other person.

Ugh. I’ll keep saying it until I no longer can. Books are terrible gifts. THE END. Especially books that have been on bookstore shelves for more than a year.

Don’t Call it a Bookstore

Have you ever walked into a bookstore, saw something, and thought, “They sell THAT here?”.I have, though after actually working in one for a year I’m not as impressed with these types of things. But now Barnes and Noble is really trying to change the game.

I’m sure during your college days either recently or long ago you at some point found your way into your university bookstore. I did, though I only bought my books from mine my first semester and then turned to rentals (which you should too!). The bookstore at my school mostly reminded me of CVS. Lots of snacks. Notebooks. School supplies. University apparel. Just basic stuff. And then overpriced textbooks.

But the company behind most college bookstores is adding a new twist. Makeup. LOTS of makeup. I mean, I’ve walked into a Sephora once. It was madness. Imagine a mini Sephora type section of your college bookstore. Imagine all the teens and twenty-somethings in there. To me beauty is what you want it to be. If it’s wearing makeup, then great. If it’s not, then great. But I just read a little bit about sales numbers for makeup in the last year. Yikes. That’s a lot of money. Can’t blame BN for trying to stay relevant on college campuses.

Next up we’ll offer haircuts right next to the fruit snacks 

Makeup in college bookstores? What do you think? 

The Biggest Lie You’ll Hear in a Bookstore

“Shh. You have to be quiet in the bookstore.”

Bookstores have cafes and coffee shops inside them. They have kids running around and people searching for books. Sure they may be somewhat quiet when compared to other retail establishments, but there’s hardly an unwritten rule.

At my store we are constantly paging customers and employees over the loud speaker. Customers and employees are constantly interacting. Music is playing just about every minute the store’s doors are open. Sure people may not like the sound of the crying baby right next to them in the store, but that has nothing to do with it being a bookstore. People become nervous around crying babies no matter where they are.

Also, the door at my store makes a sound when it opens. Just another sound added to the many coming from bookstores.

So the next time you hear someone tell their kid to be quiet because it’s a bookstore, maybe call them on their lie.

Do you think bookstores need to be more quiet than any other place of business? I surely don’t.

Amazon Set to Open how Many Bookstores?

Y’all should know by now that Amazon opened its first brick and mortar bookstore just recently in Seattle. They claimed to use their years of online book selling to create the best of both online and in-store shopping.

Now we’re hearing about more stores on the way. This isn’t surprising in itself until you hear the number of stores they’re preparing to open. I’ll give you a minute to guess because I imagine you’re original guess will be just as good as mine.

Ready?

Reports have surfaced claiming Amazon is preparing to open 300-400 bookstores. Am I surprised they’re looking to expand their bookstore presence into other cities? No. Am I surprised by the number of stores they’re looking to open? Yes. Very much so.

A little perspective on that number. Barnes and Noble is easily the big man on campus when it comes to bookstores in the United States. They operate more than 600 stores. Then we have Books-A-Million at more than 200 stores. And I believe Half Price Books comes in third at over 100 stores. Amazon would jump right to the second spot. And I think they’d mostly damage Books-A-Million. Why? Well Half Price Books is a completely different kind of bookstore. They’ve weathered the move to digital and back to print very well. Barnes and Noble has huge stores with Starbucks coffee and tens of thousands of books, and their print business has remained profitable for some time even while the Nook threatened the existence of the entire company. Yes, it was that bad. And Books-A-Million is REALLY struggling. There have been rumors for some time that the company may go private. They’ve also started directly competing with Half Price Books with their 2nd and Charles store.

Amazon looking to open more of its bookstores isn’t all that surprising to me. It gives more people the opportunity to try out their devices before buying AND it gives them a chance to increase their market share. I think the move will be successful, but I think both Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books will be just fine. Books-A-Million cannot like this news one bit.

What do you think of Amazon potentially opening 300-400 more bookstores? My main thought is for them to put one near me! Hehe.

Authors Owning Bookstores

Did you know that mega bestselling author Jeff Kinney owns a bookstore? I didn’t. Until recently. And no, he’s not the only one.

I obviously don’t have a definitive list of authors who also own bookstores, but there’s several who do. But I think the idea is pretty great. Obviously this isn’t something that just any author can do. He’s said that his building cost millions to build. It’s state-of-the-art and rather large. So I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could afford (or get) that kind of loan with my current finances. He also hosts author events for authors he knows personally. Again, this is probably not something you or I could do.

But I think it’s a cool idea. Obviously authors who do this want to make money from their investment, but bringing people together who love books and making some money from it (after taking all the risk) isn’t the worst thing in the world.

I think authors owning bookstores could become something of a trend. We know there aren’t as many bookstores as there used to be, so this could be a way to attract people into indie stores. They could potentially meet one of their favorite authors just by going in. What do you think of authors owning their own bookstores?

Is Amazon Good for Books?

ImageBefore I begin I would first like to make it known that I am a huge fan of Amazon. The paperback edition of my book is sold by CreateSpace and the Kindle version is sold by Kindle Direct Publishing, which are both Amazon companies. But I’ll try to be objective.

I’ve read several articles recently about the impact that Amazon has had on the publishing industry. Most often the takeaway seems to be that Amazon is not good for books for a number of reasons like the discounts they receive from publishers or how low they’re able to sell their e-books. There are plenty more but there’s no need for me to be exhaustive at this point.

Jeff Bezos started the company all the way back in 1994 as a bookstore. In the 20 years since then independent bookstores have been cut in half and the mega-chain Borders has shut its doors. But is it really smart to blame Amazon for both or either of those? Maybe. But what about the fact that indies were always under fire from big chains like Barnes and Noble and Borders? Or what about the fact that most indie bookstores have no place in the e-book market? Amazon is constantly blamed for the failure of indie bookstores in recent years, but there’s always more to it.

Several articles estimated that roughly seven percent of all of Amazon’s annual revenue comes from books, which puts the number around $5 billion. It’s easy for critics to throw that number out there and make a fuss about Amazon’s bookselling practices because they seem to be doing it better than any other company at the moment. But let’s think about what they’ve managed to accomplish to help the reader. First, the customer will  never pay list price of a book on the site, no matter if it’s hardcover or paperback. Compare that to walking into your neighborhood Barnes and Noble bookstore and paying exactly what it says on the back cover. Second, the selection that Amazon is able to offer is far and away the most vast there is in the world today. Most readers have experienced the turmoil of wanting an obscure book that may be long out of print only to find that Barnes and Noble doesn’t have it online or in-store. And third, if Amazon didn’t have a place in the bookselling world then what would stop Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million from selling books at cover price. Or Kobo or Apple from selling e-books at higher prices. I mean, all four companies already struggle to compete with Amazon in the book marketplace, but they are competing.

Amazon also has several publishing imprints that operate just as any other traditional publisher and back the most lucrative book writing contest in the country, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, which gives its grand prize winner a $50,000 publishing contract along with several $15,000 publishing deals given out to the genre winners.

Lastly, Amazon revolutionized the publishing world with its Kindle. No company has been able to develop an e-reader quite like it, which is why Amazon holds a roughly 67% percent e-book market share.

I’m not here to defend Amazon, but I would like for the site’s critics to be fair. Amazon’s competition in the marketplace helps drive prices of all books down for the reader. They changed the publishing world when they released their Kindle e-reader which has evolved into a full-use tablet comparable to any other. And they offer a selection of books that no other company can. So if I had to answer the question as to whether or not Amazon is good for books, well I think you know my answer by now. Yes.