Can Bookshops Play Amazon At Their Own Game?


I read a blog earlier called  – “Target boycotts Kindle and other Amazon products” which said:

 The New York Times quoted a letter from Target executives to vendors: “What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices.”


I responded but it got me thinking.

Should bookshops start playing Amazon at their own game?

Imagine you go into a bookshop, to browse the titles and see a book you like. But you have a Kindle or Nook or other e-Reader, and would like to have that book on your E-Reader rather than own the physical book.

So what do you do?

If you have a smartphone, you probably load up your Amazon app and scan it and add it to basket, so you can go on line and download it later.

If you are retro, you maybe jot down the title (Yes, old school Pen and Paper!) and then later download it from Amazon.



Book shops should allow you to go up to the till with the book, and you can then order it in E-Book format. They could even offer a few different formats:

  1. Sent to Email Address (In whatever format you want i.e. .mobi, .epub etc.)
  2. Give an Online Code for download at a later time.
  3. Give it to you on a disc.

Doesn’t sound complicated does it? They could then start to complete with the likes of Amazon.

Does that sound like a viable business plan? (If it does its my idea!)



Filed under General

8 responses to “Can Bookshops Play Amazon At Their Own Game?

  1. You have good ideas. I hope brick and mortar book stores do find a way to compete with the giant that is Amazon. I’ve stopped shopping with Amazon because of their almost-monopoly on books and they way they are moving print books into obscurity.

  2. I just bought the new Nook Glow, it arrives today.

  3. Tim Fairchild

    Reblogged this on Tim Fairchild Books and commented:
    An interesting piece from Phil Deane’s blog. Target boycotting Amazon?

  4. This idea leaves me with more questions than answers. Which site would host the thousands of book files? Big distributors like B&N already have ebook sites. Smaller, independent bookstores don’t have the budget to set up their own ebook sites, contact the publishers for the book files, and market that service as well as manage the daily responsibilities of the store.

    Bookstores definitely need to figure out how to compete with Amazon, but the trouble is finding an economically viable way to do so.

    • A quick thought would provide 2 solutions.

      1. Set up a contract with B&N, cut them in for a little of the profit. Lets face it normal bookshops cost more than B&N anyway, so there wont be much change.

      2. Set up a co-operative that will service the bookshops, with each chipping some money into to form a non profit organisation that would facilitate the service.

      3. A Third Party Company who would lease their service to the bookshops and as it would not have any of the marketing costs, it would have lower costs than Amazon.

      Would any of those work?

  5. Pingback: Waterstone’s to Sell E-books (and Kindle’s) | Looking Over My Shoulder

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