The Biblio Files  

  our bookish life  

The Biblio Files

The Biblio Files
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
January 01
We (Steve and Helen) irresponsibly gave up our promising careers in aviation and bookselling over ten years ago. Now books seem to have taken over our lives. We frequent libraries, bookstores, and thrift shops in search of interesting books. We buy/swap/sell, but mainly, we read. We both wear glasses and have been mistaken for librarians.


FEBRUARY 13, 2013 12:45AM

Bookstore Browsing Fee -- Brilliant or Harebrained?

Rate: 4 Flag


Bookstores and publishers are barely hanging on these days, but sometimes you have to wonder if they don't bring some of their bad luck on themselves.

That whole Pippa Middleton book was quite a fiasco. PenguinBooks paid Prince William's sister-in-law a £400,000 advance for a party planning book, which sold all of 2,000 copies in its first week and not many more after that. It's now on the remainder shelves.


The big publishers have been slow to warm to ebooks and decided that price-fixing would be a good way to deal with the problem. The US Department of Justice decided that wasn't such a good idea after all, and now the publishers have to refund consumers who overpaid for their ebooks. 


amazon showroom 


And now the CEO of HarperCollins UK has suggested that if bookstores want to fight "showrooming," the practice of trying out a product in the store before buying it online, they might consider charging a browsing fee.  Now I enjoy going to the bookstore as much as anyone. Steve and I go to Barnes & Noble every Sunday morning and were sad to see one of the other BN stores in town close last month. But it isn't a museum and I cannot imagine paying a fee to browse.

But maybe it's a brilliant idea and in a few years' time we'll think nothing of paying admission to look at books. Ten years ago I certainly didn't imagine having the majority of my books on a single handheld device. 



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An E ticket! Where did you get that? Still my metaphor of choice for the best of anything, though it takes some explaining to the young'uns. Oh, and paying for browsing...diabolical!
Houston: "How's it going?"

Sally Ride: "Ever been to Disneyland? This is definitely an e-ticket."
In ten years you'll need to go to a museum to see a book.

I thought BN's coffee bar was the browsing fee.
A "browsing fee" will put the last nail in their coffin. Opposite you, I go online to look for books then go to a bookstore (used), to try to buy them! Proper print on a page is much easier on my old eyes.

With a bit of ingenuity book sellers will make it through.