Round up #147: Amazon has a better reputation than Apple, James Bond deal

Round up #147: Amazon has a better reputation than Apple, James Bond deal

Voucher…James Bond Voucher

There’s a free voucher available at

AmazonLocal

which will let you buy up to fourteen (that’s all of them) of the original Ian Fleming James Bond books for $1.99 each.

You have to get the voucher in the next five days (I think it will be available through the 18th), and then redeem it by the end of the 24th.

For more information see the

James Bond deal details

As usual, I believe you could buy them as gifts and delay delivery…so you could be shopping right now for a birthday or the holidays.

If you haven’t read them yet, I’d start with the first one,

Casino Royale

Harris: Amazon more trusted, has better products than Apple

This

Harris Interactive report (pdf)

ranks sixty “most visible” companies on reputation in six categories.

Amazon was top five in five out of the six (only missing on Social Responsibility, where #1 went to Whole Foods). Overall, Amazon (barely) beat out Apple, which was #1 last year.

It’s interesting to me that Amazon beats Apple on Products and Services, which is made up of

  • High Quality
  • Innovative
  • Value for Money
  • Stands Behind

Congratulations, Amazon!

Barnes & Noble does not appear in the study.

Advice to people opening a new bookstore

In this

Concentrate Media article

current bookstore runners in Ann Arbor, Michigan (former home of Borders’ flagship store) give advice to some people opening a new bookstore there.

It’s not all puppy dogs and rainbows.

If you read Richard Retyi’s article (which I recommend) you’ll get a very interesting perspective from people who are making brick and mortar bookstores work.

I think you’ll find some of the advice odd, and maybe not in line with what you think selling books should be like (for example, some of the advice it also sell other things besides books).

As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager myself, I’ll throw in my opinion. 🙂

It’s not too complicated. You aren’t going to beat e-books and the internet on selection or on price.

That leaves service and experience.

It’s pretty simple: people have to like you enough that they are willing to spend more money than they could somewhere else just to support your efforts.

Well, that sounds easy, but of course, achieving that is not a formula.

You need to give service. You need to have people get to know the customers. You have to attract other customers with similar interests. You can’t leave unpacked boxes around. You have to help people find books. You have to make it all very pleasant (cool works, too).

That’s it…I can’t see anything else that will work.

Pay to browse in a bookstore?

The story above explains why I think the idea presented in this

Washington Post article

does seem like an odd one, despite what UK HarperCollins CEO Victoria Barnsley says.

Barnsley suggests that bookstores could charge shoppers when they browse in them.

Now, there are some variants of that that might work. You could have a membership, sort of like Costco. That would basically charge people to browse.

You could, and I think this is a better strategy, raise the prices of the books.

I just can’t see people ponying up, say, $5, to wander around a bookstore.

They are trying to deal with what is called “showrooming”, where someone browses in a brick-and-mortar, but buys online.

That’s often unintentional, by the way.

Let’s say you are browsing in a store, and see a book you think looks interesting.

Two weeks later, you are at home and realize there is a birthday coming up and that book would be perfect.

Will you go back to the bookstore to buy it?

Probably not…you can get it cheaper online, and the trip to the store is a big effort.

You hadn’t planned not to buy the book in the store, but that’s how it worked out.

No, just as in the preceding story, you have to have people want to support your brick-and-mortar to the point where they will pay more and do things that are less convenient.

HuffPo: “Why eBook Retailers Are Embracing Self-Published Authors”

In this

Huffington Post article

Mark Coker, founder of independent publishing site Smashwords, give several reasons why e-book publishers are choosing to go with indie authors.

There are some good points in this article, including that “readers are the new curators”.

One of them,  surprisingly  to me, is simply wrong, in my opinion. Coker says:

“With ebooks, the books are immortal. They never go out of print. They’re always available to be discovered and enjoyed by new audiences.”

I know of a number of e-books (legitimately published) which have become unavailable. One thing that can happen is that the publisher (which may be just the author), simply decides to withdraw the book. I’m giving serious thought to that with some of my older non-fiction books, which are largely outdated. I love the idea that they could be “immortal”, but if people get them and are dissatisfied by the now obsolete information, it makes it less likely they’ll get my other books.

Generally, though, the article is good and I recommend it.

NYT: “Read Any Good Web Sites Lately? Book Lovers Talk Online”

This

New York Times article (via Publishers Weekly)

talks about the success of

Goodreads.com

and posits that readers recommending books to the readers may be the new discovery engine.

I found it interesting that GoodReads was so much more prominent than Shelfari…which is owned by Amazon.

I’ll go back to one of my main points recently: Amazon should become more social, and this article does a good job of suggesting why that is an appropriate strategy.

What do you think? Will Apple regain the “reputation crown”? Have you ever  knowingly  spent more in a store than you could have spent somewhere else, because you liked the people and the place? Would you pay to browse in a bookstore? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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