Keli Gwyn
Book Browser vs. Book Buyer

While spending three hours at my first bookstore signing, which took place at our nearest Barnes & Noble, I had plenty of time to engage in some people watching. I took advantage of the opportunity to learn about readers.

Every so often, I left the signing area to walk around the store. On row after row I saw customers standing in front of racks examining book after book.

What I didn’t see were customers heading to the registers in great numbers. Those who did buy books left with one, two, or sometimes three titles. The majority left the store empty handed.

I was left with questions. Why had they come into the store? To enjoy the delightful ambiance of a bookstore? To spend time sipping a beverage at Starbucks? Or to escape the 99° temperatures outside?

From what I could see, many came to with one objective: to browse.

I asked myself, why didn’t they buy? Was it because they didn’t come in planning to make a purchase? Because they didn’t find what they wanted. Or because they found what they were after and planned to shop online?

Asking those customers wasn’t an option, but I can ask you. What’s your goal when you go into a bookstore? Are you there to browse or buy? If you’re a browser, do you plan to buy later? At the store or online?

One final question: Do you love the bookstore atmosphere as much as I do?

☙☙☙

 Book Release Blog Tour Appearances

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California was officially released July 1. Many wonderful bloggers offered to help me get the word out by hosting me on their blogs. The following posts wrap up my official blog tour. Thanks to the many who have followed me throughout the blogosphere.

July 30

Gabrielle Meyer ~ A Victorian Tea and Book Giveaway

July 31

Divine Detour – Interview and Book Giveaway with Kathy Harris

Keli Gwyn

12 Comments

  • Good morning, Keli!

    Hmm…I seem to always have a different reason for going into a book store. In my small town we have two book stores – one is a Christian book store and the other is a general book store. If I go into either of those stores I have a specific purchase in mind. But, if I go into a Barnes & Noble in the larger town thirty miles from here, I’m usually on a date with my hubby, just browsing for the pure fun of it (without children) or I’m on an outing with friends, again, just browsing for fun. I almost always buy a book (how could I not?!?!) – although I don’t know which one I’ll buy when I walk in the store!

  • Hey Keli! That’s so neat you got to do a signing at B&N! How fun. Did you get a lot of bites? I remember Katie Ganshert saying that a lot of people were afraid to come up and talk to her, that they sort of avoided her because they didn’t want to feel bad or feel pressured to buy. Who knows.

    For me, I LOVE bookstores. But, I also rarely buy. The reason? Because it’s simply cheaper to buy them online. Even B&N.com is way cheaper most of the time than the in-store prices. I want to support authors, but I can support MORE authors and buy MORE books if I get them at amazon.com or another online source. But a bookstore is a great way to get a sense of what is out there.

  • Susan Mason says:

    Hi Keli,

    Looks like you are having a blast promoting your book. I finished it before I left on vacation and thoroughly enjoyed it! Loved that Miles! Great hero!

    I love going to bookstores and most often come out with one or two purchases. Sometimes nothing grabs my fancy. But the atmosphere is the most enjoyable for sure.

    Cheers,
    Sue

  • Katrin W says:

    I love bookstores. And I love browsing in bookstores as well as in libraries.
    In big bookstores its easier to browse, since I don´t like the feeling of being watched by staff, or repeatedly having someone ask if they can help me with my booksearch.

    And like already mentioned above, I usually don´t go in there with a purchase in mind, but something grads my attention and I buy it.

    But I simply love being in bookstores – for me a bookstore full of new books, as well as a library, with all the wonderful books waiting for loaning, is like shopping for shoes for other people ;).

  • This is an interesting thought and I enjoyed reading these comments. I was in a B&N about a month ago to get a book for a friend’s birthday. I had learned of the book online, downloaded the free kindle version, read it, loved it, and it led to that birthday present sale. It was an interesting realization on how good writing really does sell a book. 🙂

  • Beth K .Vogt says:

    Hi, Keli,
    I’m so enjoying all your stops along the way in your book tour(s), both online and in person!
    And I love the question you raise about why we go to bookstores. Sometimes I’m on a mission & looking for a particular book. And sometimes I’m browsing — and my daughter is with me, browsing too. Both are good times … and most often, I leave with a purchase.

  • brianna says:

    I love going into bookstores, both new and used, but rarely buy. Books are simply not in my budget right now, so I use the library or buy used from Amazon if I absolutely have to have a book. At a used bookstore, if I find something I need to fill a hole in my collection, I’ll usually get it. I’m also trying to eliminate extraneous stuff from my life in hopes of moving out soon and that includes books, especially since I have a Kindle.

  • Donna Pyle says:

    Keli, I’m right there with you. I love bookstores! My local Barnes and Noble has a Starbucks, so I can lose myself in there for hours. Sometimes I’m a browser because I’ve simply bought too many books for my budget at certain times. So I browse to make notes of what I want when I’ve built up my book “allowance” again. Reading as I sit in a bookstore with a Starbucks in one hand and a great book in the other is one of my true joys.

  • It’s all about the fruit of the Spirit, Keli. Bookstores are libraries where I’m forced to gain a deeper and greater understanding of SELF-CONTROL! Seriously, when I NEED something to read, I usually end up at the library or online. When I want the ambiance of browsing and finding JUST THE RIGHT BOOK, I head to the bookstore. There I indulge in my three favorite things: coffee, books, and flirting with my hubby… because he wouldn’t miss the opportunity either. Oh yes! And I go to the bookstores when I know there’s going to be a brilliant author signing books there!

    Great question!

  • Loree Huebner says:

    I love book stores. I do love the browsing. Sometimes I leave with something totally unexpected.

  • Karen Lange says:

    My husband and I love bookstores. We often stop there on our date night and just poke around. We’ve also recently discovered Half Price Books, where we can pick up new and used books. Find some great bargains there.

  • I love bookstores and can’t pass one without stopping in. I just plan to browse but usually end up buying a couple of books. I find the bookstores at airports are always busy and I see people buying books to read on their flight.

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