Our Gift To The Author's Guild: An Ad For Brick & Mortar Book Stores

from the community-service dept

Not long ago, Tim Cushing wrote about Author’s Guild president Scott Turow’s curious assertion that brick-and-mortar book stores are the future of the industry. I didn’t think that sounded very likely, but I like a good book store as much as the next person-over-20, so I thought I’d join forces with Tim to give Turow some help in his campaign. We put our heads together and produced this period-appropriate advertisement, for Turow and anyone else to use in advancing the cause of brick-and-mortar. Enjoy!


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Comments on “Our Gift To The Author's Guild: An Ad For Brick & Mortar Book Stores”

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55 Comments
Rich says:

Oh God, the membership card! Before Amazon, I use to frequent a bookstore owned by a certain chain (not BN). I use to have to fight with them for 10 minutes whenever I tried to make a purchase because I didn’t want their membership card.

The last time I ever went there, the young lady behind the register would not relent. I finally had to hold up my hand and say, “I said no thank you!” She slammed my books on the counter and turned her back on me.

I wrote a letter to the company. I got a “non-apology” back, and a $5 coupon which I promptly sent back. I never went there again.

They are out of business now, and I was not sad to see them go.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sounds like they got a bonus for new memberships and she really wanted that bonus. I hate when businesses do that. It was one of the reason why I hated working at EB games. They wanted us to push memberships and subscriptions to their crappy magazine. I hated doing that.

Yeah, I am not much of a pushy sales person.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sounds like they got a bonus for new memberships and she really wanted that bonus. I hate when businesses do that. It was one of the reason why I hated working at EB games. They wanted us to push memberships and subscriptions to their crappy magazine. I hated doing that.

Me too, though for me it was extended warranties for crap that would cost more to insure than to go out and buy again.

Pushing EB memberships were as much free money for EB as pushing extended warranties were for the Good Guys/Best Buy/Whatever…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m guessing he is talking about Waldenbooks (or Borders which bought Waldenbooks).

Either way, there was no “bonus” involved. If you don’t push enough cards you don’t get a raise and you could get fired. I knew several people who worked at both chains. Considering that one of the best raises there is $0.25 per hour, I’m surprised anyone would push that hard for it, but if you are making around $18,000 per year another $500 can be a big deal.

Rich says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, you are correct. My local mall had a Walden’s (which became Borders). When they built a Barnes & Nobles near my house I started going there. B&N would ask you if you wanted their card, but if you said no, that was the end of it.

I remember one day at Borders, I was buying books for my daughter and me. I was asked by three different people if I wanted the card. The last people was a manager that happened to walk by while I was paying. She said, “sir, since you are buying more than $100 worth of books, you can have our card for free.” The clerk handling my purchase turned to her and said very snottily, “he doesn’t want it!”

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Funny! But are e-books democratizing?

Actually, I think I understand the implication. I’d be interested in looking at the actual data, but I’d guess the vast majority of eBook patrons are NOT reading on their computers. Scrolling w/a mouse to read an eBook sucks, after all. I would imagine most folks reading eBooks are doing so on a dedicated or semi-dedicated eBook reading device, like a Kindle, iPad, etc.

And there is a bit of a barrier on those devices now. Until prices for those devices come way down, it may put off folks who read, say, five $10 paperback books a year, as opposed to spending a couple hundred bucks for a reader and THEN buying the books….

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Funny! But are e-books democratizing?

Sorry, I thought I was being witty and implying that having a computer with Internet access, probably costing $500+ plus $720+ per year wasn’t as simple and universal as Middle-Classers might tend to believe. Maybe I’m wrong?

Have you ever been to a public library?

You don’t have to pay anything and for the most part there are plenty of computers for you to access the internet.

Plus, you can rent one down at the local UPS Store for a few bucks.

I don’t have the numbers, but I have been to a public library recently and computers are far more simple and universal than you might tend to believe.

Terry Hancock (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Funny! But are e-books democratizing?

it may put off folks who read, say, five $10 paperback books a year, as opposed to spending a couple hundred bucks for a reader and THEN buying the book

It’ll put off more than that. Below a certain income level, it’s not practical to make that kind of “profit & loss” decision (i.e. “I’ll spend $100 to save $10/month — in ten months, I’ll be ahead”). For many people, $200-$300 expenses create “cash flow” crises. People will make room for necessities, of course, but for an e-book reader? No. Not for a lot of people — that’s a luxury expense.

Poor people are still generally going to have to borrow printed books from the library.

And even if you can afford a computer, a lot of people will decide to just have one general purpose machine — and reading e-books on that is a lot less satisfying.

As for the library with plenty of computers available to use? As with public schools, the resources of public libraries reflect the wealth of their communities — the one with all the computers are the ones in the neighborhoods where no one needs them. Meanwhile, across the tracks, they can’t afford to buy them for the library either.

(That’s not a new problem, that’s a problem with ordinary books, too, but access to readers is tricky too. Computer time may be limited. Loaning readers is risky because there’s a high temptation to steal them, etc).

I’m not trying to dis e-readers or e-books. I know people who have them and love them. They clearly serve a significant market very well. Just not everybody, and not everybody that printed books serve.

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re: Funny! But are e-books democratizing?

um, I didnt know $39.99 was a high entry fee….
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?InvtId=AEBK01FS-R

can even find them cheaper if you really look around….

its not the best ebook reader out there but its far from the worst, and its the price of 4 new paperbacks….

just a point, you dont need a nook or kindle, there are MANY other ebook readers out there some are very very cheap others cost way to much….

I would buy an ebook reader over paperbacks for one main reason, no worry about the book falling apart or getting damaged.

I also dont get ebooks from amazon because their drm is harder to strip then BN and sites that just dont use drm at all πŸ™‚ (amazon has books that work with the linked player tho, just that i prefer to be able to remove the drm or have none to start with…not a fan of being told what i can and cant do with stuff I pay for.)

amber (profile) says:

Love E books

I love reading books on my nook at B&N while sipping on coffee from their cafe. Why do we have to choose between bricks and mortar and ebooks? I like to look through the rows of books, and if I find one I like, I usually purchase it on my nook. I like having the best of both worlds. I hope brick & mortar bookstores stick around even though I prefer ebooks. Where else would I hang out? A bar? I can picture myself at a bar trying to order a latte, asking the bartender to turn up the lights and yelling at the other patrons “can you keep it down, guys? I’m trying to read here”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Long time reader and a first time poster, I jsut felt I should add my two cents in.

While I do like how e-books have helped bring less well known authors intot he light as well as helping peple without a local store still read….I dunno, I STILL enjoy a physical book and an electronic one.

Maybe its just the comforting sense of solidity a real book has or the sense of pride I get at a shelf full of Anne McCathy or Terry Pratchett…plus reading from a screen tends to strain my eyes while books don’t.

All in all, while I do love e-books, I hope brick and mortar shops DO hang around so on occasion I cna buy a hardback copy from my favourite authors. The cover art on those is really fantastic, especially a Discworld book.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re:

All in all, while I do love e-books, I hope brick and mortar shops DO hang around so on occasion I cna buy a hardback copy from my favourite authors. The cover art on those is really fantastic, especially a Discworld book.

The thing is, it’s totally cool for people to enjoy books and book stores – I do myself. And I too hope that our niche is big enough to sustain a small but steady ongoing industry of physical stores – hopefully moving away from sterile big box stores, and towards a handful of charming independent stores that are just enough to meet our demands.

But, beyond that, the future is not going to shape itself to our nostalgia. Scott Turow’s notion that traditional stores are the future of the business is, in a world, silly.

Pitabred (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I believe the main point of this is that the author’s guild is trying to shut down e-books. I completely agree that I like having a number of books in a hard copy. But that should be my choice whether I want a hard copy or an electronic one, depending on my needs and desires. Not the publishers forcing us one way or another. They’re in the business of producing content, not telling people how to read that content.

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re: Re:

sounds like you need to try an eink or black and white(gray) lcd screen rather then color, color screens cause alot of people eyestrain over time, where eink and old school lcd’s dont tend to have that issue(old skool as in like on your calculator rather then your tablet/smartphone)

just a suggestion, I find I have an easier time reading eink or b/w lcd in lighted area’s and color lcd in the dark.

Anonymous Coward says:

You can have your ebook store. Books are more than just words, it is a physical object you hold in your hand. It is the printed word, it is the feel of the binding the texture of the pages. You can’t get that with an ebook or from any online experience. You completely lose out on the social aspect of interacting with other shoppers, running into your neighbor and actually interacting with a real life human being. Online shopping is for anti-social hermits and vampire types who go without sunlight for months on end.

Tim K (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Lol, is this a serious comment? I do the vast majority of my shopping online. Yet I still see my neighbors plenty and hang out with friends all the time. You could even argue that shopping online allows me to do this more as I don’t have to take out more than 5 minutes to do the shopping online as opposed to taking an hour or more to drive to the store (or multiple stores), find what I want, buy it, drive home

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

> You completely lose out on the social aspect of interacting
> with other shoppers, running into your neighbor and
> actually interacting with a real life human being

If I find something particularly interesting, I can interact with my neighbor even more quickly than running. I just send an instant message — from my ebook reading device.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re:

Online shopping is for anti-social hermits and vampire types who go without sunlight for months on end.

Or you could stop being so negative and decide that the convenience and speed of online shopping allows much more time to go out and socialise with your neighbours and other people in a way that is not adversely affected by having to focus on buying things while you’re doing it.

Just saying….

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

Re: Re:

I would prefer online shopping with the 25% or above discounts off the list price than going in a physical store where they sell the exact same item for list price plus state tax.

Also, the main products I order? Books. Physical, paperback or hardcover books. I don’t get e-books because I don’t own an e-reader and I’d rather have a physical copy in my bookshelf.

But all in all, both online and physical books can both co-exist. I would just prefer to order my physical copies online than in-person where it’s not always guaranteed to be in stock.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I love physical books. I adore them! I can take them into the bathroom with me to read should the need come up and I have to spend time there without short circuiting something.

I do love small book stores, like the one in the town I live in where the owner actually knows something about the books she sells and has a wonderful selection of good used books.

My option is up the road in the “big” city of Nanaimo where I get the doubtful joys of shopping in Chapters. The kids on the floor have no idea what they’re selling, where it might be found or even appear interested in serving customers instead of gathering together to have a chat. Oh yes, and there’s the ever present loyalty card. I do get a discount but still, these things are weighing down my damned wallet. The other customers, for the most part, seem to think they’re in the aisles of a supermarket and aren’t into interacting with any life form let alone other shoppers unless, of course, you run into them on the way into the ever present Starbucks. Even then it’s only to exchange the opinion that Starbucks coffee is too expensive and that ditch water makes for better coffee.
If my alternative is on line shopping and becoming an anti-social hermit or vampire type then I’m all for it. As for seeing the sun for months on end you’ve obviously never spent a winter in this part of the world, have you?
I see my neighbours and interact with them daily and other folks round town too as well as in my church and in other activities I’m deeply involved in.
Of course, vampires have a decent involvement with humans in the night and a far better sex life than either of us have enjoyed anywhere but in our imaginations so if there’s a way to become one it does sound tempting.

TaCktiX (profile) says:

I like both physical and ebooks. I bought a Kindle over a year ago, and didn’t really use it until I deployed, and it was an instant godsend. Walking around with several books in your pocket was terrific, and with the limited space you can have for your own stuff, a necessity. That, and the sheer variety of books available for cheap on Amazon is a terrific value proposition.

At the same time, I like to buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, or the latest paperback if they don’t sell hardbacks (Gail Carriger’s books, e.g.). I have three bookshelves right now, and I’m honestly worried I’ll need to get more.

Proximity1 says:

Re:

“I like a good book store as much as the next person-over-20, so I thought I’d join forces with Tim to give Turow some help in his campaign.”

———–

You do? In that case, why do you use your ad copy to mock —in false and ridiculous ways —what you portray as attributes of the brick-and-mortar bookstore and, by extension, the bound-and-printed-on-paper book–or, in other words, “books” as opposed to what is stupidly and wrongly referred to as being their equivalent, “e-books” ?

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