Bookstores in London seem to be doing a healthy trade these days, but obviously not all are, and in other countries many are struggling to make ends meet. Posted on Hackernews were ideas for saving some US independent bookshops suggested by readers. They included some of the ones below, to which I’ve added further ideas;
Lease the Espresso Book Machine, which prints out-of-print and self-published titles on demand. It’s expensive but cheaper POD machines are apparently on the way.
Open a members-only bookstore/coffee shop that sells subscription access, becoming for-pay lending libraries with a book inventory that adjusts to patron demands.
Offer coworking space with coffee and decent chairs. It’s a lot less stressful than being in Starbucks all morning.
Buy a MakerBot 3D printer and charge people to use it.
Get referral fees from Amazon. Bookstores could have QR-codes with amazon referral links that make purchases easier.
Okay, you already run reading nights, but how about stand-up and performances based on topics related to published materials? How about publishers coming along to connect with readers and answer their questions honestly?
More specialisation – personally I hate vast barns of bookstores, 90% of which is filled with books I’m not interested in. Watermark in St Pancras and Clerkenwell Tales in Exmouth Market offer a slim selection of well-chosen books – I buy there more frequently than in Daunt Books, which are beautiful shops but quite confusing. I miss Murder One, the crime bookstore, but thankfully we still have Forbidden Planet (SF,fantasy & horror).
All other out-of-the-box ideas here…