Book stores foster ebook sales

A fascinating premise, but I don’t get it. If we are shopping online more than ever, why go to a book store to see what we want to buy online?

  • Dave

    That is a good question. My only guess is that the behavior is generational and will eventually die out. Those who grew up buying physical books are used to “testing” a potential purchase, if you will, be examining the cover art, reading the flap, etc. Shoppers younger than me aren’t concerned with that (consider buying an MP3 vs. a compact disc). Again, just a guess.

  • What it tells me is that ebook stores and ebook readers are not very good at allowing you to browse. Most online book previews are limited to a few pages smooshed together, and that’s not how one checks out a book when it’s in their hand. We flip through, especially if the book is non-fiction or a collection.

    • Books are, after all, a pretty good random access medium.

  • D Pauw

    Same question could be asked of why people go to the Apple Store (and people don’t always buy things at Apple Stores). Probably some combination of atmosphere and seeking advise.

    • Apple still sells lots of physical real products – ebooks are something that is sold only online and doesn’t require a store at all. Ebooks aren’t physical and people don’t go to bookstores to see what books to buy, they pretty much eschewed book stores.

      Computers, tablets, and phones do though.

      • JohnDoey

        Digital things have a physical presence. You can touch them.

        A paper book with 600 pages and 300 are blank has room for another book. A Kindle with 2 GB storage and 1.9 GB used has room for another book. The storage and bits are actual physical things.

        All that is happening is paper is being replaced with glass and silicon — the books are still physical. The user still needs 5 iPad minis over the next 10 years instead of 200 paper books.

  • JohnDoey


    My friend has an iPad mini and MacBook Air, both bought online direct from Apple, but in both cases the actual decision to buy was made in an Apple Store while touching the display models.

    Books are way, way, way harder to discover online than MacBooks.

    If I was a retailer, I’d be building club houses like Apple Store. A club house for books, musical instruments, whatever. Put iPads in the store where people can shop your website. Make it comfortable and staff knowledgable and focused on enabling discovery of goods the customer wants, not closing a sale on what you want to sell. Sales and customer loyalty will skyrocket like at Apple Store.

  • I often find new books to read browsing in a traditional book store and, rather than purchasing a physical copy, simply download the eBook whilst I’m there. There are simply books I stumble across that way that I don’t when eBrowsing.

  • linnefaulk

    I go to the bookstore for my boys. I prefer eBooks and do look at some books in person to decide if I should get the ebook or the paper. If I want to share the book or if it has a lot of photos, I will get the paper book. Then again, I usually check their prices versus amazon before I buy.

  • Chris987

    Because the browsing experience in a brick and mortar store is still way more rewarding (and productive) than browsing any of the e-book stores, Apple included.

    • lucascott

      While this is true, the notion in the article seems to be that bookstores should remain open for that browsing with no income to support themselves and no guarantee that the ebook sale with go to them.

      And that’s illogical.

      Now better metadata in ebook stores, previews, even rentals. Sure. Those make sense and should happen. Especially in Apple’s stores.

      • Chris987


  • lucascott

    The days of paper books are widely over. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing