2008-11-20

Chapters

has earned the unfortunate honour of being nothing more than a physical, browsable storefront for amazon.ca.

I was in recently to wander amongst the stacks, when I picked this up:
Book from Chapters

Looks tasty, but 55$? Out comes the iPhone...
Amazon.ca mobile

You can order straight from the iPhone-optimized website; my stuff should be delivered to the office by Friday. The sad thing for Chapters is that I really don't see how they can effectively compete here. Amazon, with no physical locations (that Chapters location at the corner of Rideau and Sussex has got to be pricy) and massive economies of scale, will always have lower overhead and be able to compete on price, so only shipping costs and delays can hurt them here, and I'm willing to wait 5 days for cookbooks.

I suppose the sensible thing for the brick-and-mortar player in this race is to attempt to provide a better experience, but if you're selling books, I don't really see how you could do that... Ideas?

3 comments:

Jean said...

Stuff your iPhone in a manager's face, with this page on it: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Cuisines-Of-Spain-Barrenechea-Hirsheimer-Koehler/9781580085151-item.html

About the same price as Amazon. If he doesn't want to honor the online store's price, walk away.

Personally, I don't much care about physical bookstores anymore. Google Books + Amazon are doing a good enough job regarding content evaluation.

Good timely subject you got there, btw.

Fortrel said...

Yes, indeed, even their own web store offer better prices than the brick & mortar store. I've asked a few times if they would match the price; they won't. So I just walk away, as you suggested, Jean.

There are upcomming tools that lets you scan the bar code of any product and then use the GPS of the iPhone to tell you where you can get this exact item for cheaper in the area (or, as you did, point to an online store selling it for less money.)

When enough people do what you're doing, they will have to react. In the meantime, they can sell enough (overpriced) books in their brick & mortar stores to keep paying the rent and their employees.

You have to determine if the extra 10$ is worth having the book right away instead of waiting a few days for the delivery.

Mitch Brisebois said...

I remember when JLA VC Rick Segal launched Chapters' online store. Everyone though it was crazy. In fact it pretty well went broke in it's first few years. Now, I can't see Chapters B&M stores surviving, except as "enhanced Starbucks" - and maybe that's what they should become - coffee/book/internet boutiques.