Independent bookstores survive in Britain

The World

MC has some advice for readers who are thinking of buying their next book online, �What I’d say to them is, yeah, fair enough, buy it online. But I think a bookshop will always offer something the internet can’t offer, I think browsing in a bookshop, seeing books you wouldn’t necessarily have known you wanted, that’s something much easier to do in a bookstore than to browse online. What else, I think we can talk to a person, face to face, find out what kind of books they like and recommend other books to them in a way that’s different from the sort of algorithm recommendations you get on the internet.� LM �algorithm meaning most people who bought this book also bought such and such.� MC �Exactly, exactly.� LM �I think a lot of people who order from Amazon don’t realize that if they get a book online including a book that might be used, a lot of times the book is actually coming from an independent book seller who’s staying afloat in part because Amazon is buying the book from them and then it eventually goes to the reader at home.� MC �in a sense, we offer exactly the same sort of a deal. We’ll say to people, we have a selection of books here in the shop but we can get you anything else you want. But I have to say, we, on occasion with books out of print will use Amazon ourselves.� LM �I understand you and your business partner put together a kind of offer when you heard that the latest Harry Potter book was being sold at supermarkets for a rate that you could not match.� MC �the whole idea behind the Harry Potter thing was really that we couldn’t compete on price against the internet or against chain stores. So we thought, how can we do something positive on Harry Potter and so we decided to sell it at full price but we’d give the profits to the local elementary school. It was sort of, buy Harry Potter for full price, don’t get anything free, but make schoolchildren happy, or something along those lines. People responded to it, so there’s still hope for humanity yet.�

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