Scary stories • 31 October 2009 • The SnowBlog
Here's a spooky halloween tale for any booksellers out there. Do you know about Red Laser for the iPhone? You fire it up, scan a barcode, and it brings up the product's Amazon listing. And it works over the phone network - in other words, it works in your shop. When I talked about Dixons suggesting you buy TVs from them but use John Lewis's sales people first to pick it out for you, Vanessa worried that the same would happen for books. Well, with Red Laser, it's easy for shoppers to do just that. Go to the bookstore, ping anything interesting you find, and in a few days* it will turn up from Amazon cheaper than you're selling it. And not just on halloween.
I suppose I could see it happening in Borders or Waterstones - very occasionally - but not in much-beloved local independents. Because, really, do you need to leave the house to buy books from Amazon? Unless you enjoy browsing, you'd stay at home. It'd be like taking sandwiches to your favourite restaurant.
*maybe in ten or fifteen days. or more. if it's in stock. and unless the post is on strike. or they need a signature and you're out.