Revenue Model Alternatives for Book Publishing
Heads-Up on Your Business 2.0 Subscription Beta

Borders_2Curious to see what will look like after they end their affiliation with Amazon?  Your wait is over.  Thanks to a link I saw on Martyn Daniels' blog (that's two links in a row to this one, so it's got to be good!), you can see what the Borders beta site looks like by clicking here.

I agree with Martyn's observation that the site design is clean and effective, although I could easily live without the Flash-based bookshelf element that features new books.  (Why is everyone so darned Flash-happy?!)  I also agree that they've done a better job integrating the "check availability for store pickup" feature; I used to hunt all over the Borders site trying to find this (and I'm pretty sure B&N doesn't even offer the feature).  So although I'm thrilled that they are adding this element to each product page, why can't they go one step further and enable the in-store transaction online, including the online discount rate?  I'm looking at the book I want.  Tell me if it's at my local store and take my credit card now, while I'm ready to buy (rather than hoping I stop by the store on my way home).  Yeah, I know, the simple rule seems to be that in-store discounts shall never reach online discount levels.

But how do they know the additional volume wouldn't more than make up for the margin hit?  Why not at least test this for a month or two and see what the results show?  Better yet, why not test it to see if the in-store traffic rates increase, driving even more impulse purchases?...


Sandra Cormier

Just for a lark, I went on the site and keyed in my name to see if my book was listed. It's not due out for a week or so, and I was surprised when I got a hit. Unfortunately, they used my book title for another author's book, and listed my name as one of the authors. Nice advertising for me, but not for the other author. I'll check with my publisher to have it corrected... if I have to... I guess.

Joe Wikert

Hi Sandra. Bear in mind that the Borders site is still in the beta stage so there are likely to be lots of errors, bad links, etc., till it officially launches.

Mark Schneyer

Hi Joe--thanks from the Borders website team for your comments. Glad to hear you like the site design and the improvements we've made to the check store availability and reserve feature. On your point about taking credit card payment online when people do a reserve at store--we're not doing any type of commerce transactions online at this time, as all web commerce still happens through our Borders Teamed with Amazon relationship. But next year we'll be layering commerce on top of our new site, as well as adding other features, and at that time, the service you suggest is a possible route we may follow. But at this point, we don't have any online discount vs store discount issue, as we're not selling anything online, just taking reservations. Thanks again for your comments, and please check back and chime in with any other observations!


Joe Wikert

Hi Mark. Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts to this discussion. It's great to see someone from the development team take the time to do this.

I'm even more excited at the notion that you would at least consider the suggestion of linking online sales to in-store fulfillment. Thanks to this upcoming relaunch, Borders has a chance to act as "the new kid on the block" and integrate some exciting new features. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the management team will be bold enough to experiment a bit like this.

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