Brick & Mortar Stores: Staying Alive in the Growing Digital Age

With the recent boon in digital publishing, it’s a challenging time for brick and mortar stores. What’s it like in bookstores these days? In more and more bookstores, gone are the days when: 

-Bookstore staff put a priority on building lasting customer-bookseller relationships. It used to be that there were bookstore employees with savvy book knowledge around who would jump at the chance to give you professional book reviews and advice; these days – not so much.

-You’d see students studying solo or in study groups there for hours cramming for tests.

-You felt welcome to curl up for awhile in a comfy chair with a good book.

These days, you may very feel that if you’re not visiting the store to purchase merchandise (with little or no help), you’re not as welcome.

But this is not the way brick and mortars are going to be able to survive. Bookstores need to find ways to adapt to the digital marketplace.

How can brick and mortars adapt as the digital marketplace grows?  Here are two ways:

Sell digital devices in store. Many bookstores worldwide have joined forces with eBook device developers to offer digital devices. Green Apple Books in San Francisco has developed a great business model in this regard. It has partnered with Kobo to offer e-devices in their store. Whenever a customer buys an e-device from their store, Green Apple receives 50 percent of the lifetime profit from eBook sales on that particular device.

Refocus customer service to the selection of eBooks. While there will always be customers who prefer the physical book, the crossover to eBooks is going to continue to grow, and customers will continue to need help with this migration.

Many people think the digital book world will bring the demise to brick and mortar stores. But many people also still love, and will always love the culture of the bookstore when all we had were physical books – when all we experienced was the book in the flesh, and felt the feel of the page.

And still others believe brick and mortar stores can save themselves from folding with strategies like these.

Are you one of the hopeful ones?

How else do you think they can keep their doors open in a growing digital age?

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