Sunday, 16 October 2011

An idea for Dragon's Den? Better than that surely...

This is a quick post about an idea I had yesterday. WH Smith are launching an e-reader to compete with Kindle, the Ipad, whatever the Waterstones reader is called... and if Smiths are lumbering into the market place why not indie bookshops?

A recent pull-out guide in A Top National Newspaper listed 300 great indie bookshops. 300 shops. That's more than Waterstones, more than WH Smiths. All of whom are disenfranchised when it comes to e-book sales. You see where I'm going? why not an IndieReader? A smart executive grey, slim smart machine that would mean that a reader could download books from the independent bookseller of their choice. Publishers would produce an IndieReader edition. the technology is almost certainly there all that's needed is the will and cooperation between shops...

Perhaps the government - were it actually serious about competition - could finance the R and D costs behind such a thing?   Failing that, maybe the IPG, the shops themselves or a friendly Russian billionaire would get behind it. Either way, if we get a wriggle on we could have our own (much smarter, much slicker, much cooler) device into shops before next Christmas. Maybe before next summer.

There might be a reason why it wouldn't work, but I can't see it. Readers like independent bookshops, but they also like to be able to take a selection of books on a mini-break without going over their hand-luggage only weight limit. Why should Amazon get all of that market? Amazon has no goodwill attached to its brand. It only has utility.

Almost certainly someone else had this idea before me and came up against insurmountable obstacles. If so I hope someone tells me. I'd hate to see indie booksellers disappear from our high street killed off by a cheap gizmo. Fight gizmos with gizmos I say. Fight them with better gizmos.

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