Friday, 20 January 2012

David vs. the Amazon

For years, I loved amazon without really thinking about it. Living out here in Germany, it's invaluable, I teeter in and out of being a Top 1000 reviewer there and I've recently acquired a Kindle.

But there is another view of amazon that I'm becoming increasingly aware of - as the big, bullying monopoly that's killing off real bookshops - especially the cute quirky little independent ones. (By the way, the pic is of Ripping Yarns in Highgate. Never been there, but I must!)

In this article from the Huffington Post, there's some super thinking about what those independent bookshops can do. And it boils down to using your competitive advantage.

Rule 1: Don't play amazon on price - you'll lose
Rule 2: You're local - use it. Be something in the community.
Rule 3: You're real, bricks and mortar - use it. What events could you hold in your store?
Rule 4: You're staffed by human beings who love books, not driven by algorithms - use it!

Let's hope that these Davids fight back and don't go the way of record stores.


Philip Wilkinson said...

Yes, the Huffingtons have it about right. There are some stunning independent bookshops in the UK, and mostly they're surviving by playing to their strengths. Some of my favourites: Jaffé and Neil, Chipping Norton; Much Ado Books, Alfriston; Topping and Company, Bath and Ely; Daunt Books, London.

Sue Imgrund said...

Thanks for the tips - must look some of them up next time I'm over in Blighty! It's interesting that in Germany there are far more independent bookshops - we have 2 plus an antiquarian bookshop here in our little town of approx. 20,000 inhabitants.