Springwise blogged (June 25) about a nifty Chrome plugin called Bookindy that overlays the browser when visitors browse Amazon.com, displaying the price of the book in question at a local boostore (see above screenshot).
"Bookindy was founded by William Cookson in an attempt to encourage book buyers to shop local, by making the experience just as convenient as using the e-commerce giant," wrote Springwise. "The plugin is powered by Hive an online retailer that already collates over hundreds of independent UK bookstores on one site. To use, customers simply download Bookindy and allow it to use their location."
This Chrome plugin would appeal to anybody that goes out of their way to support local businesses.
No offense to Amazon, but I would definitely use Bookindy because I try to support local businesses as much as possible. I also wouldn’t feel any guilt bypassing Amazon, considering how much business they take away from everyone else.
The article states that in the UK, “more than 500 independent bookstores have closed in the last 10 years," largely due to the commoditization of books via e-retailers like Amazon and big-box bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Chapters, in Canada, for example. As far as the argument goes, that physical stores aren't going anywhere, I would agree. Big-box bookstores are unmatched for their in-store experience. I love going to Chapters in Vancouver and browsing books. If I find one that I like, I don’t check the price online and compare it to say Amazon. I just buy it.
Independent bookstores need to adapt to the reality that books have become a commodity. To survive, they need to innovate and diversify. They could add more services (like education or community events) and revenue streams (food and coffee service, clothing, giftware, accessories, etc.). Also, there is no reason for them not to take advantage of technology, like endless aisle and drop ship, and tap into huge online inventories (Amazon, Google books, etc.) to earn referral fees.
Another website that independent businesses should piggyback on via plugin? Expedia.com
Similarly, independent hotel operators could learn something from Bookindy, if they were to create a Chrome plugin to overlay Expedia.com, for example. Expedia takes at least a 20% commission for hotel bookings, which many independent businesses cannot afford but at the same time they can't afford to NOT be on Expedia. Expedia helps local hotels "put heads in beds," but hurts their bottom line.