I read an interesting article yesterday about how Thomas Nelson publishers is doing a sweepstakes by placing stickers within books for prizes; with the purpose of driving traffic into brick and mortar bookstores. While I think this is a clever idea, its only a stopgap in an attempt to change customer behavior in the short run. So, I applaud them for a good short term solution to help out retailers, but I have to wonder where they will go from here.
The book industry is clearly moving more into the digital space, and the simple result of this fact is that we need less book stores, or bookstores that themselves innovate to meet the customers’ needs. Publishers and retailers will have to realize that, while you can make customers adapt their behavior to a degree, you can only do it for so long and only take it so far.
At what point do you stop trying to hold onto old ways and innovate to meet new needs? There is a balance here, and those in the book industry that do it well will be fine, those that don’t will have vacant storefronts, very soon.