Should Bookstores Charge You to Browse?

That's the suggestion of Victoria Barnsley OBE, the Chief Executive and Publisher of HarperCollins UK, in an interview on BBC Radio 4:

Barnsley predicted that the level of digital e-book sales would "level off and end up being more like 50/50 [physical books and e-books] for quite some time, if the physical bookshops survive". But she said the survival of the physical bookshop was "the big question". "Readers still do quite like physical books, the question is, will they be able to buy them, actually," she told Davis.

Citing a reported figure that only 35% of fiction in the UK is bought through a physical bookshop, Barnsley commented: "They are under enormous pressure," suggesting that asking customers to "pay for the privilege of browsing" was not an insane concept in the current environment.


Would you pay to browse at your local bookstore?

If they were to embrace it as an experience and something for entertainment worthy of charging admission for, they would need to bump up the entertainment factor, like with performers, speakers, exhibits, food, drinks, social stuff, that kind of thing. I've been to things like holiday markets where you paid admission to shop, but they added a lot to the event besides just the shopping part.

And they should waive the fee if you buy something of a decent value. Like if it cost you a two buck cover to get in, you could get your two bucks back at the register if you spent at least 10 bucks.

Or it could be done like a club type thing, too. You could pay so much to become a member of the club, and then you could browse and partake of the whole rest of the experience for free (or a lot of the things free, some premium with a discount for members, some members only). And the rest of the public could pay the cover to partake as guests. If it were more club-like it would help encourage folks to really feel more a part of it, and to make sure and buy there more loyally,too. It would be more of a community, a scene, than just a retail environment.
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As someone who researches almost every book before a purchase, this would further discourage me from going to brick and mortar stores. If I want to browse around randomly, I'll just go the library and make good use of the taxes I pay already.
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There is 1 bookstore in the town in which i live and they do not offer WI-FI, much less have a place to sit. When i go into a bookstore (nearest store with WI-FI is 3 hours away) I am not there to surf the net.
I agree with some of the others, I love my library and sometimes it is nice to sit in one of the reading rooms and use the "free" Internet and enjoy piece and quiet. I feel very lucky to live in a community that takes pride in the library (there is only 1). There are comfy couches and chairs, fireplaces, great art, and a wonderfully knowledgeable staff.
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Stores, which are having difficulty luring people in as it is, should make those people PAY for the privilege?

Who says media executives are out of touch with reality?
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