Booksquare’s Kassia Krozser is on to something. In a larger post on the necessity of physical booksellers, she adds in a parenthetical:
. . . I would not mind the ability to purchase Kindle-compatible ebooks from my indie booksellers. . . . it would be lovely if all the Kindle owners out there — the ones who, you know, don’t have a friggin’ clue about formats and DRM and compatibility — could shop at your store. Seriously, you want to focus on a problem? Focus. On. This. Now. Please. Thank. You.
This set off a light bulb in my head. Just because the content on a given device is digital, there’s no reason why there can’t be a physical place in which people can interact, learn about, and buy that content.
Think of software. Yes, it’s easier to quickly download something off the Internet, but sometimes, regardless of a bevy of consumer ratings and professional reviews, you need to talk to something who knows what’s what in order to make sure you get the right product. We’re already used to this. It’s only recently that software was primarily purchased remotely. But people still have the option of going to a brick-and-mortar store and chatting up an employee to get some help.
The only difference in Krozser’s scenario is that if an independent bookseller offered ebooks, one would presumably have it installed onto their device right there in the store rather than doing so at home. Even better! I would love the idea of a bookstore I could visit, browse their physical library, get ideas, and then have the option of beaming a new book right to my Kindle, with credit for the sale going to the bookseller. Bookstores could be places where one buys dead-tree codices, and where folks top off their e-readers. Why not?
Hell, it’s not like it would use up shelf space.