Friday, January 14, 2011

How will you "browse for books" when there are no more bookstores and everything is digital?

Here is a question to ponder for the weekend.

I was talking to an author yesterday and we were talking about the continued rumors of "real" bookstores closing. The question came up of how a new author will be "discovered."

This other author and myself both said we have found some great new authors simply by finding a cover or title on a book shelf as we were "just looking."

Even though the books will be available in print format from "online" sources, how will you browse for those new books? How will you stumble on those rare gems? Are you simply going to rely on friends telling you or publishers pushing certain books?

If you are a new published author, do you want to rely on your publisher to push you? Will they simply push their "bigger" authors?

Thoughts on this? Let's get a huge dialogue going here!



  1. Great question. No idea. Have trouble finding the books I'm looking for now on ebookstores. Perhaps when looking for something specific, I'll stumble across something else. Websites that offer buying/reading suggestions will become more valuable.

    Maybe there will be a new kind of bookstore, one with faceplates on display where you can download the actual book after you've had a chance to see the cover and read the blurb.

  2. I judge a book (in a bookstore / library) by the look & feel, by the reviews on the cover, and by reading the first paragraph or so. I enjoy the process & have never bought a book on line.

    If I were to buy on line I would be more likely (I think) to rely on word of mouth from friends, book reviews and best seller lists to find new books. Which is a shame, because then how do you stumble across that otherwise unknown, great read?

  3. A book I buy I tend to have to pick up, open it up and read the first page then sometimes I'll skip to the middle and read there. Book in my amazon wish list tend to sit there because I can't skim though and get a feel for how much I'd like the story. A few authors I followed had sample chapters online, like up to chapter 5 or 6 and that was a great way to preview the book and see if I wanted to buy. If online sellers did that then maybe we have nothing to fear.

  4. I already learn about new books and authors online and would continue to do so if there were no bookstores.

    However, Barnes & Noble just reported it had a great holiday period and that sales of "tree-books" - especially hardcovers - exceeded expectations. I hope this means bookstores are here to stay.

    I love wandering through a bookstore but I order many books online for my Kindle or pick them up in the grocery store or big box stores. As a working mom, it all comes down to saving time.

    If there were no bookstores, I imagine the Walmarts of the world would expand their book sections.

    But I hope it NEVER comes to that!

  5. I haven't been in a 'real' bookstore for ages. I've been buying books online for even longer. I usually buy books I want to buy, e.g. by recommendation or review I've read, rarely because of the blurb.
    I use 'Look inside' option on Amazon and read reviews. I often check Amazon's recommendation based on my own and similar customers's recent purchases. I have come accross some 'gems' this way.

  6. I find most of my books through these type of blogs and groups I belong to on goodreads. There I have friends with similar tastes (we're all part of a group based on genre rather than people who actually know each other).

    Honestly I trust them to suggest books more than most people I know in real life. I then add it to a "to read" list. From there I eventually either get it from the library or purcahse it. It's a different way ofo browsing books but I've found it to be a very effective way to get books I like, almost guaranteed.

  7. I stop in the used bookstore once in a while to see what's landed on the shelf. However, it's been at least a year since I've purchased a new book from a brick and mortar store.

    When I do go into a bookstore, it's usually with a smirk cause I've saved so much money buy purchasing a book online instead of in the store.

    I typically find out about books through recommendations and visiting book bloogers. I also download the free samples. In this age, I very seldom purchase a book without reading a few pages first. This try before you buy work rocks!

  8. Myself, I browse through the books online. Since I read a lot of romance, and I have a Nook, I go to B & N and browse--I like how they have their books sorted by sub genre, and I have picked up quite a few new books by authors I've never read.

    Also, I like that B & N has free reads available too. Quite a few of the books I've bought I've picked up because I got the first in the series as a free book from B & N, liked (or LOVED it) and bought everything else the author wrote.

    My husband rolls his eyes every time I hop on B & N, and when I log off, his first question is "So, how many books did you buy today?"

    Will I miss bookstores? Sure. I still go to them, but not nearly as often for shopping as I used to. Working 2 jobs, taking care of my kids, and writing, I rarely have time to just go anywhere and shop. I do a lot of my online shopping late at night, when kids are asleep.

  9. I use the Amazon feature "People who bought this book also bought these books." I read the reviews by customers, both 1 and 5 stars, and then read a few pages. I've found lots of good books and discovered new authors I really like.

    I haven't been in a bookstore since I got my Kindle, though I have bought three hardcover books that I have on Kindle. They were so well written I wanted not only to have a copy, but to support the author by making both purchases.

    I don't really see myself ever shopping in a brick and mortar bookstore again. As far as I'm concerned, if it's not available on an e-reader or at my library, then I'm not going to read it.

  10. I hope that never happens. Online shopping has its perks, but more and more people are missing out on such a large part of living, which is physical experience, simply because they're doing everything on the internet. My step-son bowls, goes fishing, shops, does practically everything on the PC. As I cross the skywalk to work every morning, I pass individuals who have their noses buried in their phones. They're texting, surfing, checking mail. I just want to yell at them to look up, see the world. You're missing half the story. I shop on line for authors I'm familiar with, but to pick up a new book, skim through it, feel the brushing of the pages beneath my fingertips, that is a rich experience.

  11. I'm first attracted by titles, then I hold the book and turn pages. I just love the feel of a book in my hands, the weight, texture and how it balances, it's sssooo good...sorry got carried away.

    I read the first two or three sentences and if it's interesting, I then turn to the back and read the last two or three and make my decision. If I decide to buy, I hug it all the way to the checkout

    I'm kidding—partly. I do hope I never experience a city without walk-in book stores. I have enough books to open a library.

  12. I actually like the way amazon does it when they have like 15+ suggestions on the page of the original book. I find that introduces me to authors I would bit have known about before.

    Also with amazon,i like to read the reviews on the bookbetween goodreads amazon shelfari and other book social networks is how you will discover books and be discovered.

    Authors are going to have to work hard networking with other authors, blogging, tweeting facebook etc

    Books may go the way of cds. Its key that smaller stores find a way to sell ebooks.

  13. I foresee a time when bookstores are reduced to two distinct arenas.

    First: Childrens books and such with special features, such as pop-up books, textured baby board books, etc. will migrate to toy stores, with other similarly marketed books going directly to specialty retailers (i.e., gift books to the Hallmark store, etc.).

    Second, I believe large chain retailers such as B&N and Borders will eventually migrate to shopping mall and airport kiosks, where one or two trained booksellers can assist in picking out and ordering physical books for shipment, and where e-books can be downloaded directly (for those e-readers that don't have wifi.)

    I don't think everything will ever go completely digital, despite the pundits' cries. Personally, I tend to take info from NPR, magazine ads, BookTV, and references from works I'm reading, so my shopping habits won't be impacted too much.

  14. And what about release parties? Will those become web-based? Non-existent? That would be a shame.

    I sure do hope this will not become an issue. I love browsing bookstores. Browsing on the internet is no where near the same. If we limited it to just that, it would mean spending way too much time with eyes locked on the computer screen.