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Why Independent Bookstores Matter

Feb 17, 2022 | Blog

Why Independent Bookstores Matter

Whether you’re a bibliophile (lover of books) or an occasional reader, you’ll know that stepping into a bookshop is an entirely different experience to browsing for books online.

Independent and small chain bookstores provide a customer experience that large chains and online retailers cannot. They offer a distinctly personal and local feel that franchised and ecommerce bookstores can’t replicate. 

Independent bookstores are vibrant community spaces

Independent bookstores are cornerstones of the local community, providing a haven for those who are passionate about reading. The local bookstore is a welcoming space for both authors and readers, a spot for like-minded people to gather and exchange ideas.

It’s a place where knowledgeable and passionate employees welcome regulars by name, offer tailored recommendations, and curate personalised must-read lists. A place where book clubs meet each month or come together to research and plan out their titles for the coming year. And a place where local self-published authors can connect with and promote their books to the communities they live in via book signings and events.

Independent bookstores offer a differentiated customer experience

While we’ve been shopping online more than ever during the pandemic, the convenience of adding to cart just doesn’t compare to being in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Online bookstores are run by ecommerce specialists, not bibliophiles. Independent booksellers build long-term relationships with customers that allow them to provide an authentic, personalised service – and take genuine pride in matching their readers with the perfect title to suit their interests.     

Browsing the aisles, breathing that new book smell, flicking through pages, and chatting to trusted staff about their latest recommendations is a truly special experience for book lovers. As our lives get busier and moments of peace are harder to find, the local independent bookstore is a place of calm, respite, and connection for many – even more so if readers can enjoy their new book while drinking a cup of espresso at the bookstore coffee shop.

Independent bookstores can still complement their in-store offer with an online shop

With consumers embracing online shopping, more and more independent bookstores are adding an online store to their operations. Having an online presence doesn’t dilute or detract from their in-store offer – in fact, emails and digital promotions can play an important role in driving foot traffic into the store. Selling online means that independent bookstores can raise their profile on Google, make sales 24/7, and offer a compelling experience for customers who can’t visit the bookstore in person.

Booknet is a comprehensive bookshop management solution that makes it easy for independent and small chain bookstores to launch an online store. More than just a point of sale system, it integrates seamlessly with book industry tools like Titlepage and offers a wide range of models that support bookstore owners to run their store their way.