Think about it: Almost 40 percent of Amazon’s customers, according to this poll, have added a complicated step (the time-consuming and not-without-expense process of going to a bookstore) to the simplicity of Amazon’s buying process. Maybe it’s because they don’t want a book with a dinger on it, or they want to see the quality of the paper or art reproduction. Maybe they want to ask a clerk about it. Maybe they want to be sure they don’t get stuck with another print-on-demand copy that looks like a piece of shit when it arrives. Maybe it’s because “Look Inside the Book” just isn’t the same as flipping through a real book. Whatever. Almost 40 percent of Amazon’s book-buying customers have rejected something fundamental to Amazon, which is the concept of buying something sight unseen. And indeed, according to this poll 40 percent of Amazon’s business thus relies on brick-and-mortar bookstores.
Dennis Johnson of MobyLives, the rest here
I remember meeting Dan Frank of Pantheon in the Random House lobby about a year ago; the lobby had floor-to-ceiling shelves displaying books published by RH imprints over the decades. It seemed odd at the time that they were not using the space to sell current books in print; if they are not allowed to use the space for retail, presumably they could at least use it to facilitate the sort of thing DJ describes. (But can it really be the case that they can't sell their own books? Apple has an Apple Store. Prada has a Prada store. Strange.)