Catering for the Digital Consumer

Bang! I’ve got so much I want to blog about today – but must focus!

The other day I went to Topping Company bookshop in Bath for a talk on self publishing by author Alison Baverstock. Firstly, it was packed.. 20 people probably – and for a small bookshop, that’s really good to see. I’m a massive fan of and passionate about, perhaps I should state myself as an evangelist of self publishing. Therefore I was in my element to be a room with so many similarly minded individuals.

Whilst Alison’s talk came from the perspective of traditional publishing, I still enjoyed it. My interest is mainly in digital publishing, as it’s free / cheap, doesn’t kill tree’s and doesn’t have the issues found in traditional publishing… ergh. Already I’m getting off topic!

I want to say that I enjoyed it! I want to go to many more of them and I had a great thought whilst I was there.

The bookshop (ToppingCo) is amazing, it’s a beautiful small place, packed from floor to ceiling in titles and is the dream bookshop for lovers. Sadly, it doesn’t do much for me. Why? Because my life has changed, my purchase and cultural patterns has changed with society and Time. No-one can dispute with any authority that print book sales are declining (only children’s books and business journals remain strong) and I’m an example of that change.

ToppingCo is not catering for people like me. This isn’t a comment against ToppingCo, this is a comment about the book publishing and distribution world in general. I am a digital consumer. I have money to buy books and I still love to browse titles. I want to give my money to book shops like ToppingCo and to publishers like Alison Baverstock. Digital consumers like me, need to be catered for by these business’s, otherwise we go elsewhere; and once we have found a better, more accommodating competitor to buy from, our loyalty is hard to buy back.

I want to walk in to any bookshop, browse, select, buy and read: physical or digital formats – it doesn’t matter to me.

It grates me when the traditional book industry bitches about the dominance of Amazon and the Kindle – or Apple and the iPad – but isn’t doing anything about it to cater for the digital customer.

Ho-hum. Moan over 🙂


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