Sunday, August 31, 2008

Morning Thoughts

Interior view of the Jones & Co bookselling premises in Finsbury Square, London.

Morning Thoughts

I have started reading Groundswell Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. So far, it is quite interesting. The book is very concrete. It gives many real life examples of what can happen on the internet.

This morning I was looking at bookstores listed on Wikipedia. There is an interesting short description of the history of the Strand founded by Fred Bass in 1922 on Wikipedia.

Anyways, I am also thinking of my endless internal debate on whether or not to take the Bookselling Institute at the next Book Expo America in 2009 on how to open a retail bookstore. I know that I have no intention of opening a traditional retail bookstore. It is not a profession that rewards one well financially. Being a small bookstore or comic shop owner pays even less than being a librarian. It would probably be an enjoyable lifestyle if you did not get eaten by either the chain bookstores or the very large independent booksellers.

In some ways, I am frighteningly bad at business. I have an entrepreneurial streak. I rather liked working part time at a small bookstore and trading in comic books I found at flea markets and garage sales. I really enjoy this kind of thing. But, alas it is not a paying career. I also like investing in the stock market. A lot of the small bookstores have died in New York because of competition from the internet and the chain bookstores. Actually, this is not quite true, Strand Books ate many of the local chains and small bookstores.

I have looked and pondered on the idea of opening an online bookstore. You actually get more money from a physical bookstore of the same size as an online bookstore. Online bookstores work with economies of scale. You can sell a lot more books online on a website than you can in a physical store, unless your store is gigantic like Powell's or The Strand.

I have thought about how you would combine social networking with books. There could be some very interesting combinations. There are already some like Shelfari and Librarything. I really don't have the connections for this kind of thing right now. I would have to come up with a very interesting and unique combination of services built around collaborative tools.

Right now, I am just amusing myself with these kind of ideas. I had mentioned that I would be interested in working with an attempt at a total media site like Contentville which didn't do too well. Maybe, someone will figure out how to do it right.

Anyways, I am meandering along. If I was truly over the top, I could change this into a social networking site for a small fee. Something like Ning would allow me to do this. . I am sure there are already a variety of social networking sites on books. I could point and click my way to a social networking site in a few days if I really wanted.
Right now, I am just meandering along.

I am still having problems with Entrecard. I still cannot log into Entrecard from my home computer. I have talked to them for three weeks and gotten a completely unsatisfactory response. The technician who helped me kept on giving me suggestions I had already done. Then when I told him I already did it, he tried to tell me that I should try what I had already done in a different way. It definitely makes me want to try a different service.

I can log in elsewhere with no problem. I think what is happening is that when I log in, I get the message you need to go to the login page. So I have to be logged in to log in.

I removed my widget. It was taking up too much time anyways.

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