It’s been four since I found ten books on my perssoanl shelves, put em in a book and sent them off to a faraway Amazon fulfillment center. We’ve succeeded in recycling over 500,000 books and made some friends along the way, and saw the startup and then closure of a competitor, and now the Amazon fulfillment centers are getting closer and closer.
Our team took over the Coyote Ridge Book Store and just this past March, Amazon raised its fees on used books, making penny books obsolete, leaving us in the strange position of having cheaper books than them. Yes, we know undercut Amazon in our brick and mortar used bookstore. You can look it up!
We’ve been making some hay and the sun is still shining most days but to be straight with you, I’ve confirmed that there is little hope for bookstores over the next decade. The only stores that will be left will be eccentric retirees and millionaires who want to drain away they life savings running a bookstore. However, it seems like a lot of people will do that. But if the key to retail is finding what customers want and giving it to them, and I think that is certainly a part of it, I’ve realized…I guess confirmed really that bookstores from Barnes & Noble down to the smallest independent are…over. But we can have some fun with them over the next thirty or forty years, that’s for sure.
I do think there is a bright future to incorporate books into retail stores that sell a lot of different ways or sell related products. in our case we are a bookstore with an online store and the book donations and textbook buying service.
We are also taking video game and old consoles for donations and we will start buying them this year as well. video games are an industry that is fast moving from physical copies to downloads and streaming but I see some parallels to the book markets, which have seen eBooks not become dominant. For video games, discovery and being able to share should keep makers from abolishing cartridges and discs altogether and those are the same two exact reasons physical books will hang on for the next few decades.