The book biz and Green Apple's future

A few month's ago, when Borders first announced the closing of a third of its stores, we wrote this. Now, with Borders completely liquidating, we are prompted to re-think (yet again) the future of bookselling and Green Apple Books.

In short, we feel the same way now as we did a few months ago. In fact, we may be more bullish. Here's why:
  1. Our Google eBooks are starting to catch on. Readers really are buying eBooks for all devices (except the proprietary Kindle) from Green Apple, and returning to buy more. We'll continue to promote this new service, as we aim to put good books and readers together, no matter the format.
  2. The Borders in the Stonestown mall is closing, so we have an opportunity to win some new customers. While their going-out-of-business sale may hurt us in the short term, being the lone big bookstore west of Stanyan Street can only help Green Apple.
  3. Amazon will soon have to collect sales tax in California, and other states are following suit. It may take a few months, or a few lawsuits, but it'll happen. It's about time the playing field was levelled, and Amazon is being excoriated in the media for their tax-dodging ways. See this and this and this and this and so on.
  4. Green Apple has a small expansion in the works. Nothing big, but we planto better maximize our return on the busiest used book buy counter in theBay Area.
  5. Many behind-the-scenes improvements are shoring up Green Apple's finances, like:
  • Dodd-Frank act should lower our debit fees;
  • Our annual company-wide health plan renewal increase was in the single digits;
  • Successful GroupOn and ScoutMob offers brought in new customers; and
  • We're reducing operational costs, like phone & Internet service.
There's still and always much more to do: revamp our website to better reflect the store, get our used books inventoried for easier shopping and better buying control, and so on.

And we're still very concerned about the health of the bigger industry: without healthy publishers, Green Apple can't thrive.

As we said in February, it's ultimately up to our customers. If they want Green Apple to survive, they have to buy books (or eBooks, CDs, DVDs, LPs, greeting cards, journals) here. So far, they do. So we'll keep adapting, reading, buying, shelving, shelf-talkering, and
making goofy videos.

Thanks for reading.
a Robin Allen photo, adapted