Last month the Washington Post published an open letter to Barnes & Noble about the bookseller’s continuing financial troubles. The author loves bookstores and wants to see B&N survive, making a case that show-rooming — in which readers find their new favorite reads at a physical store then make the ultimate purchase online — actually helps the retailer’s bottom line. I find the logic a bit sketchy, but the essay’s still worth a read.
Elsewhere, the CEO of HarperCollins recently spoke in an interview with BBC Radio 4. She mentioned that bookshops could start charging shoppers to browse, as a means to combat show-rooming. Does this strike anyone else as absolute insanity? I imagine burly bouncers standing guard outside the doors of every B&N, collecting cover charges from readers and giving the ol’ heave-ho to loitering riffraff.