We all know and regret that highstreet book sellers are being driven out of business by a combination of ebooks and outfits like Amazon, so it is great when one comes across a small book store that has taken the fight to the enemy in a really inventive way.
A couple of days ago I came into contact with Randy Slocum who owns a small but obviously extremely lively book store cheerfully called Randy’s Book X change in a place called Hoi An in Vietnam who has decided that he for one won’t quietly lie down and die.
In his book store in this very picturesque and obviously well worth visiting coastal town in Vietnam he offers what in itself must be like a drinking fountain in a desert – a book store that offers second-hand books in English. He tells me that he currently has a stock of something like 15000 books, both paper back and hard back which he sells for between $4 to $10 each.
And also ebooks:
In itself this would be worth reporting since to find second-hand books in English in such places is not easy, but he has gone a step further, and has set up a most inspired service for his customers, namely he will sell you ebooks, at Vietnamese prices ($2 each if you spend less than $14, or $1 each if you spend more than $14) which he will happily put into your ereader, and even better, he can sell you any of his very large stock of ebooks in absolutely any format, so no matter what ereader you are travelling with, he can sell you a copy of the ebook you have chosen.
So, if you turn up with a Kindle, a Nook, a Kobo, a Sony, a Hanvon or whatever sort of ereader, tablet or computer he can cheerfully copy your chosen ebook onto it for you.
Apparently you can choose your ebooks by means of a large catalogue he has of the ebooks that he stocks, so it isn’t a case of happily browsing his shelves, but of sitting down with a large book listing all the ebooks he can offer you, and choosing that way.
But this is not all, not content with offering what to my mind is a very complete book service to anyone sensible enough to enter his store, he is about to add selling ereaders to the package.. or at least that is his hope. To this end he is talking with Vietnamese importers to see what might be possible.
So, what Randy has set up has to be one of the most complete book/ebook services imaginable in a physical shop – paper backs, hard backs, ebooks, ereaders oh and a book exchange too….. seems to me to have covered all the possible bases pretty neatly, and in such a nice part of the world too.
So when you are in Vietnam, be sure to visit Hoi An – worth doing anyway – and while you are there, restock your ereader with a load of cheap ebooks to keep you going for the rest of your holiday.
Link to Randy’s website: www.bookshoian.com
To 5 Thon Xuyen Trung
Cam Nam, Hoi An, Vietnam
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So, what is your take on Randy’s approach to surviving in the book trade in the age of ebooks? Worth a try do you think?