Bookshop Owner Fighting Back Against Ebooks

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:

Randy’s Book Xchange
To 5 Thon Xuyen Trung
Cam Nam, Hoi An, Vietnam
tele# 0936 089483 Country code 84

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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?

4 thoughts on “Bookshop Owner Fighting Back Against Ebooks

  1. Randys Books

    Thank you very much for the flattering blog. I can use all the help I can get and having your facts and details be accurate is more than I can say for many of the Newspapers that have interviewed me. As far as the Title goes. I think that I have caved in to the Ebook pressure more than fighting the trend. I personally have ended up reading more Ebook than Paper recently. Kind of heretical for a book store owner but what can I say. So it goes. Those who do not change along with society are doomed to live in the past.
    Thanks again for the great article.

  2. Tony Post author

    Glad you liked what I wrote…. I meant it all.

    As to the title of the post, well it seems to me that regardless of what your own reading habits might be, as a book shop owner you are definitely fighting back, so I stand by my title.

  3. Randys Books

    Hey Tony, I am now selling Kindles and Kobos. My first shipment of Kindles was modest and I only purchased three being leery about the possibility of being stuck with the readers. Little did I know. I sold all Kindles plus my back-up kindle in 12 days. And had more requests that I could not fill. I have only managed to sell one of the three Kobos but that still means that there is a solid market.
    I ordered 5 more Kindles. (three base models and two paper white) and will let you know how it goes. But its looking good. This time I ordered them with covers and wall plugs. I sell the base model at $135 USD but that includes 10 eBooks of the buyers choice. I don’t know how much I will be selling the PaperWhite Kindles for. Once I receive them and find out my delivery costs I will let you know.
    The Kobos are selling at $100 with 100 pre loaded books on board and 10 of the buyers choice. Its a pretty good deal and I find the Kobo to be a reasonable machine. Not as user friendly as the Kindle. (I like the page turning buttons better on the Kindle) but it gets the job done and the 100 preloaded eBooks are kind of cool.
    Just ran into your old post and though that I would up date you. Hope all is well.

  4. randy

    Well things have progressed a bit more than I had anticipated. I am selling eReaders of all kinds now. Sony, Kindle, Kobo, Nook… and cover’s, reading lights and sleeves. Things are going pretty well on the eReader sales… generally about 4 or 5 a month. Its almost humorous the panic in the eyes of someone that has lost or broken a kindle in the middle of a book…. So I do provide new and used machines and have a knack of fixing broken or damaged machines in many cases.
    So my small foray into eReaders and eBooks has expanded quite a bit. I am still not selling all that many eBooks but every little bit counts. If you could put the word out by posting another article it sure would help… feel free to contact me at any time…. all my info is in my web site. Thanks and I hope all is well with you.


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