When Bricks Meet Online: Stale Inventory


I love bookstores. I love browsing, exploring new things, even just the variety of the covers interests me. I'd hate to see them go away. Consequently, I try to buy from local bookstores whenever possible. The problem is the word "possible."

Just today, I ran into something I find all too often--especially with technical books. This morning I was in a bookstore and found a book I was interested in \t The Photoshop CS Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby. Knowing the Photoshop CS3 just came out, I checked the publish date and saw it was 2003. Suspicious, I checked Amazon and, sure enough, a new version will be out this month.

Bookstores need to be more proactive about getting old inventory off the shelf and warning customers that new versions are coming. With the limited shelf space they have, they need everything on it to be the most relevant and up to date possible.

In a world with Amazon, the value that physical bookstores add is precisely that: they're physical and many people enjoy that. They can even get away with charging a little more. What they can't do is push stale inventory at customers and expect people to do anything but browse.