How Can Physical Bookstores Better Integrate E-books?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Bookstores need to get creative with selling e-books if they want to stop customers abandoning them for Apple and Amazon.

By Edward Nawotka

digital media frankfurt book Fair

Digital media at the Frankfurt Book Fair. © Peter Hirth / Frankfurter Buchmesse

“Big” bookselling is on its heels these days: Borders is in bankruptcy in the US, Angus & Robertson in the Australia has been decimated,¬†Waterstone’s new owner promises a brighter future, but for that we’ll just have to wait and see…

The competition — whether online or in the digital cloud — has eaten into booksellers revenues. Booksellers, many of whom already have online stores, are frantically trying to come up with strategies to let people know that “they too” offer e-books.

In the US last week, 145 independent booksellers offered 25 titles from Unbridled Books for 25 cents each for three days, in an effort to boost awareness among customers that they sold e-books. The books, which were sold via the American Booksellers Association’s affiliation with Google eBooks, moved nearly 16,000 copies. It was a clever, if not exactly lucrative, means of spreading the word.

Increasingly, publishers are offering “digital book tokens/gift cards” that allow customers to pay for e-books on-site and download them later. Barnes & Noble offers owners of the Nook — B&N’s proprietary e-reader — to take advantage of special offers and read exclusive content when they are shopping in the physical store.

What more can bookstores do to better integrate e-books into what they offer?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.