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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

from Facebook: why did Amazon open a bricks-and-mortar book store?

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easter eggs
  • Tonio Kruger

    It’s nice to see that your cousin Mark Harris is getting recognition for his work.

    Yet every time I read that article, I can’t help but ask, “Who is this ‘we’ he is referring to?” As much as I liked the convenience of Amazon.com, I can’t help admitting having a weakness for brick-and-mortar stores if for no reason that some of my favorite books have been found browsing at such stores. And indeed, my favorite bookstore chain — one I have been shopping at since I was in my late teens — is not only still open but has managed to outlast the local outlets of the once-mighty Borders Books chain.

  • It’s nice to see that your cousin Mark Harris is getting recognition for his work.

    Oh, Mark is doing much better than I am. He’s got repeated bylines in all sorts of very prestigious publications.

    “Who is this ‘we’ he is referring to?”

    It’s all of us we. However much you like shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores, there’s no denying that there are far fewer bookstores than there used to be. As you noted.

  • Danielm80

    I loved Borders, but every time I tried to shop there, I saw nothing but bestsellers and popular titles. I don’t read many bestsellers, and even in an enormous bookstore, I could never find any of the odder, quirkier titles I was looking for. I’m not even talking about really obscure authors, just midlist or slightly older books. The employees seemed mostly to be people who didn’t read much, but if they could find the book in their computer, they’d offer to have it shipped sometime in the next week or so.

    I shop on Amazon pretty regularly these days. Their bricks-and-mortar store, however, sounds like Borders, only not quite as friendly.

    I do spend a lot of time at Books of Wonder, which has knowledgeable staff members, stocks items that aren’t available anyplace else, and frequently invites authors to visit the store.

  • Bluejay

    Yeah, Books of Wonder rocks! We’ve seen many YA authors there — including Buzz Aldrin. I miss the cupcake bar that used to be attached to it, though.

  • RogerBW

    My recollection is that big bookshops first (late 1980s) started carrying about half big names and half more interesting stuff, then gradually increased the proportion of big names through the 1990s until they had nothing else to offer. This happened before Amazon came along; they were trying to maximise income per area, and best-sellers were the way to do it.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Ironically, one of the reasons I started shopping so much at Borders when it first came to Dallas was because I could easily find books there that were not available at other chain bookstores like Waldenbooks, B. Dalton’s or of course, Barnes & Noble. However, as time went on, their selection became more and more limited and it finally went under during the start of the Great Recession.

    Back in the 1980s, there was a local bookstore named Taylor’s that had a similar reputation to the early Border’s but that store too died a slow, drawn-out death in the mid-1990s.

    Ironically the one bookstore chain that has appeared to thrive — apart from B&N, of course — was the Half-Price Books chain — which, of course, is an used bookstore chain and thus given to all the problems one would expect to find with a store whose merchandise was ultimately dependent on the kindness of strangers. I still find a lot of interesting stuff there — and, of course, it can be a fun place to browse — but it’s not for everybody.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I wish we had a Books of Wonder in our city but as of this time, we don’t. At least as far as I know.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Ironically, the last time I browsed B & N, I could not help noticing that their stores are devoting more and more space to items that are not books or magazines. Not just CDs and DVDs — ironically, the areas that hold those items seem to be shrinking — but toys, puzzles and all sorts of things one would not normally expect to find in a bookstore.

    For that matter, Amazon seems to be also devoting more and more attention to selling items that are not books, magazines, DVDs or CDs. Almost as if they are more interested in competing with Walmart than with B & N.

  • Bluejay

    I don’t think it’s a franchise. There’s just the New York store.

  • Bluejay

    Almost as if they are more interested in competing with Walmart than with B & N.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Amazon wants to be the “everything” store, not just for print and digital media.

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