I'm a voracious reader and used to buy from bookstores on a weekly basis. Over the last few years I switched almost entirely to getting books online, and of late, more and more, that means buying them on amazon.
The reason for the shift has primarily been availability of the books I want to read in stores.
Now I understand that there are millions of books out there with thousands more getting added everyday, so decentralized bookstores are inherently at a huge disadvantage to centralized means like amazon. The amount of unproductive working capital tied up in store inventory will ensure this, leave alone rent, staff and utilities of a brick and mortar establishment.
But, assuming many other people have a similar story, what continues to surprise me is how little or how poorly bookstores seem to have adapted to this. If I were a bookstore owner I would try one of these things, none of which I have seen evidence of any bookstores here trying in a meaningful or impactful way:
1. Aggressively analyze traffic and tweak the assortment continuously
2. Track what I read, suggest books, inform me when they get related stuff in-store
3. If they don't have a book I want, promise to send it home the next day or later the same day
4. Reward my loyalty and value to them meaningfully. By that I mean that if I'm the kind of guy who buys regularly and from a predictable set then invest a significant portion of their margins on my purchases back into growing their relationship with me
5. Start 'membership programs' that help me get control over my spend on books
6. Make bookstores a really pleasant place for me and my family to spend time in
8. Support the physical book ecosystem.. start a program to take back books and free up precious shelf space in my home
9. Specialize.. trying to keep all the books relevant to everyone is a recipe for disaster imho, will end up keeping a bare minimum in any area and leave everyone dissatisfied
To folks in the bookstore business and slashdotters in other countries (I'm in India) - Do you feel nearly enough is being done?