ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today's visit to the bookstore was frustrating.  They have removed the entire "new books" section from speculative fiction and shuffled everything into the shelves.  There are still new books on tables and racks but not sorted by topic.  Apparently, this move is very popular.  It also means the bookstore is dying.

Why?  Because the people who shop that way -- looking at everything, and especially hunting for a bunch of stuff by the same author to buy all at once -- tend to be people who visit a bookstore once or twice a year, in which time the turnover will be high.  For those visiting once or twice a month, they've already seen everything except what arrived the last week or two. It's extremely tedious when you have to dredge the whole damn place every time looking for a needle in a haystack, even if you love books.

We complained.  I pointed out that if you make a bookstore unappealing to me, that is painfully bad service.  But it also means the store no longer appeals to major bookworms, that so many have quit coming it means the remaining customers are dabblers who apparently like it this way.  I pointed that out too.  But it's probably far too late to fix.

*sigh*  The past is a foreign country, and right now I'm homesick for when bookstores were soft quiet places full of BOOKS and didn't come with a hunk of electronics literally blocking the path into the store so it has to be sidled around.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-07 08:14 am (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: Text icon: I can't believe we're still protesting this shit. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
We miss those days too. We remember being very very young, and a bookstore called Readmore Books being about an hour from our house. We didn't go often, because it took a drive, and this was when that town still had a mall, but we have very fond memories of our mom and us going there for Nancy Drew mysteries, and stopping at the shop across the hall that sold cookies and lemonade. It was lovely.

yup

Date: 2017-05-07 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
our local is now mostly games and puzzles. This is annoying, but apparently the games and puzzles are more popular than the books so yeah.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-07 02:21 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*sigh* I'm guessing the store you're talking about sounds like Barns and Cows... yeah, they're dying. Which is a damn shame, worse because they're doing it to themselves. And their online partner, whose name is an insult to a tribe of powerful women, are trying to kill self-published authors who want to sell (only) actual *books*.

They're trying to kill the bardic class. I am NOT OKAY with this. So I am here, giving when I can.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2017-05-14 11:52 pm (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
I'm not sure it's "greedy and don't care who they hurt" - the idea of "hey, go online, find a book you like, order it, and get it mailed - quickly!" was going to happen. And my lord, is it nice not to go to three or four bookstores to find the latest by $Favorite_Author.

What we're seeing are unintended consequences. I don't reckon a used bookstore will survive without a strong Amazon marketplace presence, and a lot of bookstores won't really have a way to compete with the ease of ordering online. Heck, one book store in a community that raised the minimum wage was in trouble because books have publisher prices on them - you can't easily "just raise prices a bit" when someone can see that you're charging more than the publisher price.

I'm not a Luddite (though I'm reminded that the original Luddites were skilled craftsman worried about what happens when machines replace them)... but the world is changing really fast, and showing the dangers of capitalism ("capital should earn money") over socialism ("business should serve society"). And we as a society haven't really thought deeply about how to handle these changes.

Part of the reason is that, in the past, each reduction in workforce for one sector (fewer farm workers needed) meant there was more labor for other sectors ("...but they can help make the machinery that allows fewer farm workers to farm!" - it's never quite that neat, but I hope the idea is clear).

Thing is, there's what I call the Star Trek Limit, alluded to in Star Trek NextGen: at some point "we need fewer people to do X" means "there are fewer jobs to go around, forevermore." And I think we're actually mostly there.

If we are there, then a fundamental economic model has broken, and unless it's proven that this model doesn't work, quickly, people will still hold to it and insist that, "no, we can't be up shit creek, because the MAP says we aren't!" (Because for too many people, the map *is* the territory.)

Anyway: I love bookstores myself - but how *do* they survive when an Amazon comes around? And an Amazon would have come around by now, whether it was this one, or another. And I don't know the answer to that.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-07 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] readera
If this is B&N this sounds super sad. I worked there as a bookseller for 4 years and it seems to have gone down in quality since the new CEO/management took over. That was a few years ago. They started to micro-manage stores and policies. They seem to not care about long term book lovers, who want a bookstore and not an electronics/game/book store.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2017-05-07 05:58 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] readera
As I said elsethread, books used to be made and sold by people who love books, and now it's by people who love money. The results are awful and the trend is getting worse.

>> A lot of my coworkers at the time, myself included, were upset about the changes from the beginning. Some of the changes that are non-visible to customers were ridiculous, and were big red flags for me. Like the store can no longer play whatever CDs we have but we had to use a playlist someone else made. The store's AC was forced to be remote controlled, which is really dumb as the headquarters is in NY and we are in TX. Etc.


That's exactly the impression I get. The store is actively hostile to consumers of paper books, and getting more so. Blocking the main aisle with the e-reader kiosk says very blatantly, "This store is for people who read on computers. Everyone else get out." >_

>> The e-reader kiosk in our store was there for a while before the change in upper management. But I know that different stores were getting the kiosks at different times.

As an employee it felt like the company wanted to focus on profits. It was really frustrating to go from a customer service focus to a money/sales focus. I hated telling regulars that we don't have this or that in the store anymore. Like seating or whole sections of books. You want LGBTQ non fiction books? Have half a shelf.
I am super sad to see this is still the direction the company is going with.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-07 03:31 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
The Half Price Books next door to our apartment building closed about a week ago. Not happy.

And I don't use my Kindle much, because it makes me feel guilty every time I buy a "book" for it.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-08 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, that's annoying.

>> when bookstores were soft quiet places full of BOOKS

Yeah.

Here's to bookstores with books in them, and people who know where the good stuff is to be found.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-08 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
..this is redsixwing, having login trouble today

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-09 08:13 am (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
I've read some analyses suggesting that the demise of big bookstores like Borders and B&N is at least clearing the path for the small stores they originally displaced... but I don't know how true that is outside of the sort of places where small stores already are.

Re: Well...

Date: 2017-05-09 05:10 pm (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
And all with the misguided idea that what we really want is a new department store.

Well, maybe we do, but these don't make the cut there either.

Re: Well...

Date: 2017-05-09 05:59 pm (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
It's a pity you can't get rich with bookselling, actually, because "bookstore owner" is one of my dream jobs, at least, after we've eliminated all the ones that don't require human contact at all.

If they wanted to make a new department store for entertainment and its accoutrements, the way to do that would be to built it from scratch. That would be fine. Taking over a specialty store and destroying it is neither helpful nor effective.

And they wonder why eventually they lose money this way!

Profile

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
ysabetwordsmith

July 2017

S M T W T F S
       1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 1112131415
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26272829
3031     

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags