What big big changes can we make to re-envision the bookstore business? Maybe something based on a co-op or for-good corporation?

Host:  Brad

Participants: Bradley Jones, Esme Joy, Laura Larson, Tanya Mills, Nick Johnson


How do we re-envision? – a new business model? Different branding?

Branding: How do we brand the concept of an in-person book store? How are we different than being just a place to buy books? What is the story? How can we show people that they can value the experience more than the convenience?

Who can we look to for inspiration? Costco, the convenience of platforms like audible or amazon.

How do we create a better version of Indie commerce?: Remove tech barriers (clunky POS systems, web orders) 

How can we uplift and collaborate with other local businesses and nonprofits? Laura from Odyssey shared a local “eat local, read local” campaign. Brad shared collaborating on community events with other businesses including live music events. 

The future of hybrid spaces?: Nick mentioned knowing of successful hybrid bookstores – wine bar/bookstore, spraypaint gallery/bookstore. We discussed both the benefits of drawing folks in with these hybrids, but also the challenges of staffing for business models that include food and bev service. Another option could be separate businesses that compliment one another who share space in one building or corridor. 

How to encourage support for bookstores: A concept that Tanya is playing with, “Adopt a Bookstore – Support a Literary Highway!” As a way to encourage donations. 

Another option could be to sell stock in the bookstore to create a model of shared ownership?

Donations can be fielded through a website such as patreon. Esme shared that Firestorm Books & Coffee has had a lot of success with patreon subscriptions. https://www.patreon.com 

Libro.fm is a wonderful partner for audiobooks. How to spread the word about this alternative to amazon? Sharing libro.fm to customers verbally, showcase libro in the store – have a sticker on books that have a great audiobooks – https://blog.libro.fm/marketing/ is a marketing package booksellers can use for libro.fm 

Pros & Cons of bookshop:

Pros: weaning people away from amazon, getting some money just for being part of the bookshop network

Cons: the margin is lower than if it was through your own website, the association of the sale becomes with bookshop rather than the indie bookstore

Amazon: How do we interrupt the habit of using amazon for everything and creating a new habit?

If most people shop with amazon for convenience – how do we become as convenient as possible?

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