The Bookstore and the Virtual Age

4 April 2015
This paper is an in-depth examination of how the virtual age has affected the way small businesses are run, especially booksellers.

This paper examines the complexities of doing business in our virtual age, looking at the particular challenges of marketing a virtual bookstore. At the center of this paper is a case study of an individual who once owned a bricks-and-mortar bookstore and considered opening a virtual bookstore, only to find the marketing challenges too great. This study shows how the booksellers have had to adjust their own business practices so that they could interact in the smoothest possible way with virtual stores. This paper then presents some possible modifications that will allow this particular bookseller to succeed in today’s virtual age.
Independent bookstores have traditionally taken chances on new authors, who often contribute substantially to making the marketplace of ideas more diverse. But the number of independent bookstores which have allowed new writers to find their audiences seems to decrease each day. The loss of these bookstores is not the same as the closing of a cute clothing boutique; each independent that closes takes with it some measure at least of the freedom of expression that exists only when it is used. The support of these newly emergent authors is something that virtual bookstore owners can use as a marketing strategy. This man, who is planning to open a virtual mystery bookstore later this year, intends to use this as a marketing strategy. Especially for mystery readers there’s always this search for new authors. Mystery readers tend to read a lot of books and they’re always running out of new works to read by their favorites, so they’re always looking for new writers. And that’s often very hard to find in a Barnes and Noble because they’re committed to these huge profits and sales figures. I’m not looking for that. I’m looking to make a little bit of a profit and I want to be part of the mechanism that brings new authors into the public arena. And I know that there are a lot of people who would appreciate that. I go to conferences all the time, and people are always asking when there’s going to be a bookstore all about new voices.
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