I’ve often blogged about whether the book store retail world could merge with the e-book retail world.
In China, they have grocery stores that are empty. All you see are pictures of products. Each product has a QR code. You scan in the code and the product is delivered to your home.
Here’s something similar I’ve envisioned in the book world.
Readers know I like to visit the South Keys Chapters on a regular basis. But the store can only hold so many books. And for some books, I want to read the e-edition because of price and convenience. But I’m at book store because it’s easier to browse, flip through the pages, etc.
So I pick up a book. Maybe I even sit at a table and read the first chapter. I like it. On the back of the book is a QR code. I scan it and order the book to be delivered to my iPad or my Kobo. Maybe I’m checking out the Will Self novel. I know he has several collections of essays and short stories and several novels, but Chapters doesn’t stock any of them. But there’s a product sheet next to the new novel. There’s a short description of each title with a QR code. Or maybe at the end of each aisle is an iPad on some sort of moving stand. The iPad will only let you visit Chapters. You type in a code and the book is now on order for you.
There are lots of issues to be overcome. For example, Chapters doesn’t have a reading app. I’m not sure what their arrangement is with Kobo now that they’ve sold it off. If I order a book for my Kobo thanks to a QR code on the book, does Chapters make money? I probably can’t order a book for my Kindle because Amazon wants me to buy my books from them. Fair enough.
Some of you might ask, why not just order the e-book from the comfort of your own home? Well, that’s the way I do it now. But there’s still something about getting out of the house, going to a book store, or any store, and doing a little window shopping. I’ve bought a lot of e-books thanks to seeing the book in Chapters or another book store.
The advantage of the Apple Store, Amazon or the Kobo store, is that they have more than a million titles to offer you, but not necessarily a good shopping experience. And no matter how much it improves, people will always want to get out and actually touch things. Chapters offers a pretty good shopping experience. But they don’t have more than one million titles in their stores. Is there a way to combine the two?
Just some ideas to think about.