The Bookstore is Not Dead

Last week while I was in Portland, I had the opportunity to visit Powell’s Books, the biggest bookstore in America.IMG_0397

It was heavenly….an entire city block filled with books.  I jokingly referred to it as an orgy for book lovers.

Powell’s features books of all genres from novels to cookbooks to poetry to self-help.  There are used and new books offered for sale, including many rare or historic books.

I spent hours there, happily browsing and filling a basket with books.  While I was there, I made a few observations that are important to note:

1.  Your spine art is important.  In physical book stores, your book will be displayed on a shelf so all buyers will see initially is the spine.  Many people forget this and don’t ensure that the spine of the book is eye-catching and attractive.

2.  When faced with multiple books on the same topic, readers will gravitate to books with the most compelling cover.  It seem unfair, but buyers do judge your book by its cover.  If your cover is boring, buyers will assume your book is boring too.

3. Books with spiral binding do not display well in a physical book store.

4. Your book will do best if it is a standard size.  Very large or very small books are difficult for stores to shelve so they may stick them up on a high shelf or other out-of-the-way location, making it difficult for buyers to find.

5.  Many patrons at Powell’s were looking at books and then going to Kindle or Amazon to see if they could get a better price online for the same book.  While buyers love great content, they love great prices too.

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