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3 Strategies to Help Bookstores Survive Amazon
For some time now, we’ve been hearing stories of bookstores struggling to stay in business, not just in small local bookstores, but also in big chains like Borders. My understanding is that Amazon.com’s success is partly responsible for these struggles. I love Amazon.com, and I love “brick and mortar” bookstores. Since the future of Amazon.com looks pretty stable at the moment, I propose three strategies bookstores can use to stay in business and survive on Amazon.com.
new market environment
Once upon a time, if I wanted to buy a book, I bought it at a bookstore. Your book-buying possibilities have changed. You can download the book to your e-reader or buy it from an online source (for example, the author or publisher’s website, Amazon.com). Book-buying behavior has changed, but bookstores seem to be trying to maintain the way they do business. With the addition of coffee shops, bookstores look much like what I remember before Amazon.com made online book buying practical.
In my opinion, one of the advantages Amazon offers book buyers that bookstores don’t is the breadth of choice. Amazon has a wider selection than bookstores. A second advantage is cost. Prices for buying books online are often lower than those offered by bookstores. Amazon doesn’t have to pay for store furnishings, decorations, floor walkers, or fancy buildings. With low operating costs per book and high volumes, Amazon is able to keep prices low. As my Aunt Eileen used to say, “It’s not pretty, but it works.” To attract book buyers, bookstores are going in the opposite direction. This doesn’t seem to work.
Of course, you can also purchase books directly from the bookstore’s website. For example, you can visit the Borders site to find and buy books. However, if you buy books online, you probably buy them from Amazon.com. Bookstores offer an entirely different experience than online shopping. I want bookstores to succeed. So my advice is to get more people to buy books at the bookstore.
Recommendations for bookstores
1. Adopt e-books and web-based technology.
Bookstores should use new technology, not resist it. I am specifically referring to e-readers. When I went to the Borders bookstore earlier this week, I checked out the Sony e-readers on sale. I’m pretty impressed. The sample model comes preloaded with long excerpts from about 15 books. It stuck so tightly to the counter that I couldn’t pick it up or walk with it. While playing with them, I glanced around the store. Towards almost every wall, in every nook and cranny, I saw people sitting in comfy chairs reading. They could browse the shelves, pick up a book, carry it to a chair, and read. It got me thinking about the potential for sale and the behavior of buyers.
Bookstore folks like to browse through books, pull out a title of their choice, and read a few pages. If they like what they read, they will buy the book. Unfortunately they are limited to shelf books and may not be what people want. There was nothing on the shelf. (Introduced to the local hardware store!) I wanted to flip through the 2009 Writer Watchdog. i couldn’t do that. I wanted to read a few pages of “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates. out of service. You may be able to see Jumpa Lahiri’s first book, Interpreter of Maladies. Same problem.
We understand that bookstores cannot stock all possible books in their database. It is natural. But shouldn’t we be able to see them anyway, whether they’re on the shelf or not? This is where e-book technology can play an important role.
This is the scenario I envision. Check out e-book readers (free of course) at the service counter. The e-reader is wirelessly connected to the bookstore’s network. Approach the computer at the end of the bookshelf or the touch screen panel on the book rack. Search titles, check authors, look at covers, and find books that look interesting. Enter the number of the e-reader you carry and the first 40 pages of that book or his 50 will be downloaded to your reader. Place your e-reader on a soft chair and read with one leg hooked on the armrest. You may find 10 interesting books. Download each excerpt.
(Why didn’t you read it with an e-reader? Currently e-readers are black and white. I want to see the color cover, so I have a color computer monitor or panel.)
Two of these titles are interesting enough to make me want to buy them. View menu in reader and add to shopping cart. After browsing, press the purchase button. According to the information displayed, one of them is in the store, waiting at the main counter. The other one is not in the store, it is in the warehouse. You can buy it with 10% discount. Would you like me to purchase it and have it shipped directly to you? Of course we do!
(Why the 10% discount? First, if it’s not in the store, it’s because the secretariat has determined that it’s not a large volume of books. It’s going to take up inventory space in the warehouse and keep it in stock. . Discounts encourage me to let go of their hands. Second, discounts help justify shipping delays. Third, discounts allow stores to compete with Amazon.com prices. If you’re going to wait anyway,otherwise just buy it from Amazon.)
Enter your credit card information to purchase two books on your e-book reader. If you don’t want to enter your payment information on the reader or prefer to pay with cash, take your e-reader to the counter. The clerk scans the reader’s number and pulls out the purchase details. Indeed, the first book awaits me. The clerk confirmed that I wanted other books as well. that’s right. You paid, got your first book, dropped the reader, and you’re done. I am another happy bookstore customer.
2. Improve book search in bookstores.
I am referring to new semantic mapping techniques. Enter a book title or author name and you should get not only specific search results, but also a list of related books. (This is similar to how Pandora.com creates an online music station for its users based on their music selections.) If you’re interested in a particular book or author, the search engine suggests other selections. should also be recommended. This should be much more detailed than the simple category searches currently available.
For example, if you enter the term “Sherlock Holmes”, you will find other book titles in the Sherlock Holmes series, other titles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, other mysteries with male detectives as protagonists, books written in the same style, and the same period. book written on. You can browse not only books about Sherlock Holmes, but also a wide range of books linked by a comprehensive set of identifiers. You can further refine your search by pressing the “Like this” or “Not like this” button.
Finally I get to Frankenstein. Or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I never thought of reading this book, but it fits my interests. i didn’t know that. “Okay,” I think, “I’ll look into it.” After downloading it to my e-reader and reading 10-15 pages, I found it certainly intriguing. I buy books that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of buying. I am another happy bookstore customer.
3. Use Print on Demand (POD) technology.
Print-on-demand can increase available choices while reducing inventory costs. As my former management accounting professor said, “Inventory is bad.” In a perfect world, bookstores would not have stock. Adequate number of books are always available to meet customer demand. Of course this is not possible. However, it is possible to reduce warehouse inventory by using POD.
Instead of keeping 1,000 books in a central repository (25 for independent bookstores), bookstores only keep enough books to meet the next short-term anticipated demand. If expected demand is low or unknown, this could be just 10 or 20 books. Bookstore companies (such as Borders) use POD technology to create additional books as they are needed. Short run books can be produced very quickly using POD technology. Even a single volume can be economically produced on a POD.
For large volumes of books, for example over 1,000 copies, offset (that is, conventional) printing is usually more cost-effective. Stephen King’s new book should be printed by offset printing. Books are on bookstore shelves, not in stock, and sell fairly quickly. Inventory costs are not the same issue for lesser-known authors or less popular topics. By using POD, bookstores can keep most books in very low (or no) inventory and print books when needed. With POD you can create a book overnight.
Consider the first scenario above. I found the book I want, but it’s not in the store. I can buy it and have it shipped to me. What I don’t know is that the book isn’t in stock either. All I know, all I need to know, is that the book will be shipped to me tomorrow. , will be shipped the next day.
Bookstore companies can do this process in two ways. First, bookstore companies can license the right to print books at their facilities. The book will be exactly the same book that the publisher would have printed. Same ISBN, same cover, same everything. A bookstore is a sole printer, not a publisher. While this may be costly at first, bookstores can sell books efficiently without having to place buy orders with publishers or deal with the costs and inefficiencies of “middlemen”. . The main costs are incurred in purchasing and setting up the printing technology and the personnel who operate and manage the process.
The second way to do this is less expensive, but also less efficient. Publishers can create this potential because major bookstores can give preferential treatment to publishers who have adopted POD. The company’s book buyer can then send an order to the publisher requesting 5 copies of the book from her. Publishers would laugh at such a request, as they usually use offset printing. However, publishers using POD can do it and the book will be ready tomorrow.
If a bookstore wants to keep books in stock to reduce ordering and shipping costs, a Kanban system can be used in conjunction with POD to keep books available while minimizing inventory costs. I can. A Kanban system uses a “pull” process to initiate the creation or purchase of a product. When the stock reaches a certain number, orders are placed and more prints are made. Here’s how it works.
Suppose a bookstore expects to sell seven copies a week, or approximately one book per day. Some days two copies are sold, but in one week he never gets more than nine, and in three days he never gets more than four. Also, let’s say the book can be printed and he can deliver it in 3 days. This is nearly impossible with traditional printing, but easy with POD. Then, when the inventory reaches 4 volumes (maximum sales volume from order to delivery) using the Kanban system, an order for 9 more volumes will be placed. In this way, the next order arrives when the stock runs out of the books of the previous order.
A bookstore can order 1,000 copies of a book. Some sell out quickly, while others stay in stock longer. Many small orders are placed using print-on-demand publishing and a Kanban system. Minimize inventory, reduce costs, and have your books available whenever you need them. As a book shopper, I get the books I want now or in a few days. I am another happy bookstore customer.
that’s it. These are my recommendations for keeping bookstores viable and valuable to book buyers. Hopefully, when I’m 80, I’ll be able to go to a place where books were actually sold when I was younger. is nostalgic..”
David Bowman, owner and editor-in-chief of Precise Edit, wrote this article.
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