Live webchat: An independent bookseller answers your questions

There should be an interesting debate going on over on the Guardian website tomorrow, with independent bookseller, Patrick Neale, engaging in a live webchat about independent book selling.

It will be directly relevant to my dissertation, so I’ve added my own list of questions! It’s very interesting to read what others are asking, and of course, it’ll be interesting to see what he says.

My questions are:

1. How important is it for booksellers to add value to what they sell, such as by offering signed first editions, or having author signings?

2. To what extent do increasing rent and rates impact on forcing independent bookshops from the high street, in favour of bland retail chains?

3. As well as the importance of face-to-face contact, how important is social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, in promoting what booksellers do?

4. How do you think booksellers can stop customers browsing in the shop, and then buying more cheaply online?

5. What genre of the book market do you think will transfer to devices such as the kindle?

6. Do you see there being a backlash against digital reading devices, with publishers producing books that have a value and resonance not just in their contents, but their worth as desirable objects?

7. Does the industry need a successful Waterstones, and what would happen if Waterstones disappeared?

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