Anyone who has ever set off with a mission to buy one specific book from a bookshop on the high-street, usually a chain, will know the frustration of discovering it is not on the shelves. Instead of being able to read something on your journey home you have to wait for it to be ordered in and the phone call telling you to pick it up. It is no wonder than that people are buying books over the Internet. Okay so you don’t get it there and then but it usually comes quicker than the high-street chain can order it in and often turns out to be cheaper.
According to The Interactive Media in Retail Group findings that were splashed across The Guardian at the weekend books are the largest selling item after flight tickets and holidays. Importantly not only are people just buying more books online but a significant number are using it for researching their next purchases.
I understand the retailers don’t have shelves made from elastic but the lesson here is to make sure that some of the aspects of the web – the ability to research titles and authors without fear of coming across a grumpy gruff old codger behind a till who will make you feel an idiot - is made available and the expertise staff are meant to have in their skulls is more easily accessible to the public.