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The bookstore might be closing; the signs
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:27 AM
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Default The bookstore might be closing; the signs

I remember in the 1990's 3 diff. books stores. Two were Bookstop and Waldenbooks, which are no longer around. I also remember Borders, which I remember from the 2000's, and probably went out of business 6 years ago. Side note, I remember offering a $25 membership to a lady, and she said, "Borders had free membership." I almost said, "yeah, and they aren't around anymore."

Anyway, the only other bookstore in the area is Half Price Books. A lot of people coming in the bookstore said, "I buy my books online, though this one I'm buying in-store is because it's not online." Or they download books and only come in to buy other things we sell.

Ok, why I think the bookstore might fold soon nationwide, not counting getting books online.

1) Around Feb. they eliminated some full-time positions. The new head-cashier was there for 2 months and lost her job. They re-hired her 2 months latter as a part-timer. They let 3 other people go.

2) My hours are cut. I used to work 3:30-10:30 some weekdays. In May my weekdays were cut to 5-10. Other people that had to work late nights, not counting the manager, also had to leave at 10pm. Now they had hired a girl who worked 2-5. Don't know why that made sense. Now one manager told me he rather the store close at 9pm instead of 10pm. So hours are being cut. Now I forgot when they started to cut cashier's morning hours.. So instead having a cashier coming in at 9am, they have the cashier come in at 11 and have a bookseller work at cashiering. Recently the cashiers start at 9am instead of 11am.

3) We have a membership where the customer buy it for $25 and save 10% on all purchases (except gift card purchases and downloads and products from online purchases). We didn't offer online price matching. Then in April or May Cooperate offer price matching with our website prices. We don't tell members, they have to ask. For months (before this new policy) people would ask if we price match our website and we had to explain "no" (there was no set reason; sometimes it was because the website is a different company, or just the overhead). So now if they ask, we say "yes". One time a woman said her facebook group let her know we are price matching our website.
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2018, 11:23 AM
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Sadly this is the trend most places. Big chain bookshops are folding as you can find books cheaper online, even with postage.

The ones that are bucking the trend are the hipster shops, the little boutique ones that sell second hand books, hard to find imports, hold events and have knowledgeable staff who are interested in non-mainstream items. They also tend to have a coffee shop or coffee bar as part of the premises so that you can buy something and settle down to read it.

Over here in the UK, the only chain shop that seems to be doing OK is Waterstones. Even though they're a chain they have more of an independent shop feel, with hand-written recommendations from staff on the shelves for particular books with what they like about them, regular events such as book signings (I got to meet David Attenborough at one!), cafes in most shops, and so on. Even with Amazon doing so well in the book business, I still see a lot of people in Waterstones (buying stuff too, not just browsing).
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Old 07-31-2018, 08:28 PM
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My bookstore has a cafe. It's a Starbucks but we just rent the name. If you have a Starbucks gift card you can't use it. You can use the bookstore's gift card. I forgot to mention that the workers get a 50% discount at cafe, but this past month they changed the discount to 30% and the manager of the cafe decided to protest by not buying anything at the cafe.

We also have events. A year ago Charlemagne the God (a radio personality) came to the store and people from around the country. One guy came from Denver (I'm in Houston). Charlemagne was giving an interview in our backroom with a blogger and he mentioned to the blogger "and people can buy my book on Amazon..." ohhh, awkward. I wanted to say something but neither manager said anything...guy says in his book that he believes in saying the truth, but I figure if I did tell him something he might not like it, though he did seem cool. He stayed and talked to each customer and even took pics even though we told people before the event that there were not going to be pics. Also, if you bought 10 books you got a 10 min. talk with him. I thought it would be 10 min per person but it was a group talk. And this was after we were closed.
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Old 07-31-2018, 11:11 PM
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Half Price Books is a weird beastie. I work for your online competition, though not Amazon, and we've actually received shipments from HPB of books that were clearly used. I can't quite figure out if they're just a chain of used book stores, or what. No matter, it seems weird that they were selling the competition product.
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Old 08-01-2018, 12:17 AM
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The third point (about memberships) reminds me of the final days of The Former Tea Store at which I worked. We used to ask people for their emails so we could send them notices of special events and offers and so on.

We were still asking them for their emails well past the point where (I am sure) corporate knew we were closing.

One of a few reasons why I tend not to bother with these so-called "loyalty" cards and programs.

And the only bookstores we have here that are not Big Box Bookstores are what greek_jester talked about. One is a publishing company that uses its publishing profits to help keep its bookstore going (they sell books that they themselves print as well as good-quality second-hand books) and the second one that I know of is this whacky little second-hand shop that makes you feel like you've walked into a Hogsmeade business, or possibly the Unseen University library. From the front it looks like this tiny little shop but it turns out to be be a multi-story former house with books in every available niche and corner ... PLUS a selection of books out in what used to be the garage! I wondered how they kept people from simply walking off with armloads of books ... until I noticed there was no way out of the back yard except back through the shop itself.

I don't go there often; I've got more than enough books to keep me busy right now. As I read and cull the ones I've got, I will probably take bags of them to this little magical shop and trade them in.
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Last edited by Pixelated; 08-01-2018 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Quoth Javarod View Post
Half Price Books is a weird beastie. I work for your online competition, though not Amazon, and we've actually received shipments from HPB of books that were clearly used. I can't quite figure out if they're just a chain of used book stores, or what. No matter, it seems weird that they were selling the competition product.
It seems like they get some used, some new stuff. We go there fairly often (especially if we have coupons) and some of the books are in well-loved condition. Others haven't even had their spines cracked. They also take some games (video and board), records/CDs, gift sets, etc. We've taken plenty of books there as well. They pay about as well as GameStop in that regard, lol.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2018, 03:39 AM
Mental_Mouse Mental_Mouse is offline
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I happen to work at one of the last of the old-time used bookstores (Daedalus Books of Charlottesville, no relation to the Baltimore folks you'll see on the web). Even that's under major stress, and it will almost certainly die with its owner. Who is elderly and and in lousy health.
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