This Publishers Weekly article talks about "tech makeovers" and social media use by two indie bookstores, Harvard Book Store and The Booksmith in San Francisco, where I did the Best Sex Writing 2009 reading and video in February.
Other changes involve serving emerging writers better. For example, The Booksmith dedicated the month of January to new writers and has begun posting author interviews online, as well as listing some store events. “None of these ideas helps sell books,” Madan acknowledges. “It’s more about having a larger conversation with your community.” Not that he’s unhappy when book sales result, as they did from a YouTube posting by erotica writer Rachel Kramer Bussel, who pointed out her favorite sexy titles (and chocolate) at the store (www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRiaXX9_y0s).
“Most bookstores struggle in knowing how to use technology effectively, including us. There is no bookstore, with the exception of Powell’s, that uses the Web well,” Madan says. “We believe that the days when bookstores could ignore the Web are over, as are the days of having boring, static sites that accompany excuses like 'we only use our Web site for informational purposes.’ ” Next month, he and Evans plan to launch a new site that makes better use of social platforms to build a broader, ongoing conversation with readers and writers. They are also creating a new staff position, Web marketer.
And you can watch the video here: