A Few Changes
Change is not new to the book business. We have faced the challenge of large national chains with deep discounts and hedge fund sugar daddies, the advent of ebooks and electronic readers (some that are now obsolete), the disappearance of small publishbing houses into large national and international conglomerates, and the ever-growing internet which threatens to cannibalize the entire retail landscape. And now Covid 19 and the related economic repurcussions and crises, just when the world of independent bookstores was enjoying a renaissance.
As Yogi said, its deja vu all over agiain, but with some distinct differences. Independent bookstores are quicker to innovate and take advantage of new technologies. For example, bookstore readings are being replaced with "virtual" on-line meetings between aluthors and readers. This format will not compensate for the electicity of fans meeting and talking with authors face to face ... but this is one of the trade-offs made to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe and healthy. With this new format, some authors who may not have been able to travel to The BookMark can visit us virtually. Story Time with Miss Pat was our first foray into virtual space. We continue to schedule wonderful author events as well.
Our weekly "Postcard" is designed to keep you informed about what is going on not only at The BookMark, but in the pubishing/bookselling world as well. It also lets us tell you what we've been reading. This has been well received, and we will keep using it as an information resource. We will also start archiving them on this website. The publishing iindustry is still adapting to the new world and while it may be more than you really want to know, we are going to keep you informed about some of these changes. For example, the rapid increase in on-line purchases with independent bookstorhas has apparently caused a backlash. Some stores are having a more difficult time meeting customer demand and new customers are unhappy. As we have have noted in previous postcards, publishers have drastically altered their scheduled releases for new seasons, (especially Spring and Summer 2020), cancelled instore readings, changed publication schedules and adjusted staffing accordingly. In short, it is a challenging new environment, and we doubt that griping to Amazon is rewarding. In fact, they have deprioritized books during the pandemic. Books are always our #1 priority! FYI publishers and booksellers have called for an investigation of Amazon's predatory practices.)
One of the reasons we have been reluctant to adopt on-line browsing/ordering etc. is that we really like talking to customers and providing the personal service that makes independent bookstores special. But we know that we have to adapt to the changing realities, and so we will be implementing new browsing and ordering capabilities in the very neear future.This on-line service is an integral part of our existing software system and has years of expereince. It will requre some changes on our part but will offer many new capabiilities that we think you will find helpful. Our goal remains finding the right book(s) for you and making sure we get them to you. The pandemic has inivted us to expand how we do that, and we're up to the challenge.