How Amazon is Saving Bookstores

by Brian on August 14, 2012

I’m truly grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given this summer to speak to many authors at writers conferences, and with publishers at the publishing conferences I’ve attended.

A topic that inevitably comes up, often has do to with Amazon’s impact on traditional brick and mortar bookstores.  There’s a misconception (in my opinion) that they are slowly putting them all out of business.

I want to share with you an observation I’ve made after traveling around, including most recently to Cape Cod, MA where I chatted with a bookstore owner on how Amazon allows her to stay in business.

Savvy bookstore owners are using the Amazon marketplace (as sellers) to sell both new and used books. This gives them additional sideline revenues to offset the dips that come from running  seasonal retail business. Amazon provides them access to a worldwide audience and an avenue to unload inventory to free up valuable shelf space.

Bookstores can justify a higher price (just as I do in my own work) when they offer greater value and a personal touch that makes all the difference to customers.  Since bookstore owners are some of the most creative people in the world, I have little doubt they are figuring it out.

Indeed, Amazon has made a dramatic impact on the world of books and publishing in general.  But from what I see, more so in a positive way.  This is evidenced by the numerous studies proving how literacy has  improved thanks to the Kindle and other eReaders for the next generation of technology-centric youth who might otherwise shy away from books.

So next time you are in a heated discussion about Amazon, think about the positive impact they’ve had on the world in more ways than one.  If not for Amazon, I can’t imagine how many unpublished authors there would be waiting for an agent to get back to them or reading yet another rejection letter from a publisher.

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