Just the other day I found myself at the mall. It’s not my favorite place by any means, but when you have a wife and kids and a dog and a life, you somehow end up there on a regular basis.
The mall we visit sucks. I hate to use that term, but in this case it fits. For two major reasons; one; it has no bar, and two; it has no bookstore.
It does however have a Starbucks, so that’s where I usually end up while the wife and kids are doing their thing. I’ll sit at a table at the window and gaze across the mall with a highly caffeinated drink in my hand. My wife frowns upon this for some reason, but she has yet to outright protest. I counter this by telling her it gives me time to think of new subject matter.
There was a time when I enjoyed the mall. Main reason being that it had a bookstore I could browse for hours. Even as a kid, mom always knew she could park me there and I would remain safely in place until she returned. The price for her peace of mind was that I got to take home one or two of the books I’d found. A good deal I thought.
. . . .
There’s no doubt that e-books are a growing phenomenon. They’ll most likely be the dominant form of reading in the next few years. But I don’t see print going away anytime soon either. As I mentioned before on this blog, I see digital growing to a certain point and then slowing down, then, as the population ages, gradually taking more and more of the market. Unlike most predictions that I see, I feel this will take many years to happen. Within that time, we’ll most likely see several new ways to market both e-books and print books.
In this new world of publishing, what would the new mall bookstore look like?
. . . .
The new Kindle will be out soon and it wouldn’t surprise me if it had some form of scanner on it. If not I’ll be very surprised, because armed with such a device, one could shop at the e-bookstore.
I can picture myself wading through the legs of shoppers lounging in the various leather couches outside the store, each of them with an e-reader in one hand and a large coffee of some sort in the other. Why? Because Randall’s e-bookstore of the future has a Starbucks inside. I think this is referred to as a no-brainer.
I join the crowd at the entrance gazing up at the multiple flat-screens hanging from the ceiling. I skip past the Romance screen, the Non-Fiction screen, the SciFi screen, and the Bestseller screen until I find the Indie screen. I watch a few 10, 20, and 30 second videos for the latest thrillers to come out. It’s a new advertising medium that even self-publishers can afford. One of them piques my interest, so I pull out my e-reader and scan the QR code at the bottom of the screen. The code offers me a discount if I buy the book in the next 60 min, but I hold off as I’m curious as to what I might find inside the store.
I sidestep around the group of people crowded at the window watching the Espresso Book Machine crank out another paperback. It’s one of the new machines with the clear plastic covers so everyone can watch while it works. The kids seem to enjoy it as much as the adults, one little girl taps on the glass before pressing her nose against it.
“Make another one! Make another one!”
The store employee looks at the author, whose book he is printing for the very first time, he smiles and gives the go-ahead for another copy. The store only charges a few bucks, so why not? The young girl waiting behind him with the thumb-drive clutched in her hand rolls her eyes, her time-to-publish just got a little longer.
. . . .
I get my coffee and turn around, only to run into the store owner. His name’s Mike, he’s here every day, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a seated position.
“Hey Randall, when’s the next book out?”
“Two months, give or take.”
“Better book early if you want to do another signing. I’m full up till then. Did you want to do a coop display again this time?”
“Yeah, it seemed to work well for the last book. Thanks for pointing me to that vendor.”
“No problem. Gotta go, tell Jessica I said hello.”
“Will do, thanks Mike.”