Back in 1998 when the movie You’ve Got Mail came out, e-book stores didn’t exist. If they did, Meg Ryan could have closed down The Shop Around the Corner and gone online. The book selling market is nothing like it used to be, and booksellers, battered by all the changes, are very anxious to get an online presence up and running. They hope that whatever business they lose by way of their actual storefront, they might be able to make things up online.
Well, e-book stores can be a bit difficult to set up. And there is the problem certainly that even when you do hire a web developer to take care of the back end for you, you can’t just fully rely on them. For something that’s as important to your business as the health of your e-book website, you will really need to get technical yourself. You need to learn to take responsibility for the technical success of things – which can be hard to do at first.
It would really be a help if you could set off on a clean slate. Many bookstore owners make this mistake; they think that since they have experience in the physical bookstore business, that they are practically going to coast when it comes to their e-book stores, as well. Actually, there’s not that much that they have in common. For instance, the greatest challenge that any e-book store will face without a doubt, lies in the kind of user experience it is able to offer.
A customer who comes in needs to browse to look for stuff to buy. Whether the customer buys or not, entirely comes down to how easy the store is to navigate. For instance, many book stores that go online, have a hard time setting their website up in a way that their inventory of physical books may be kept separate from their inventory of e-books. When a person comes in searching for an e-book to read on a reader, the search engine will throw up a physical book listing as well. And it can happen the other way around too. It can get customers quite frustrated to be misled in this way. E-book stores should always make sure that their customers are able to choose what kind of results they want to see.
Another user experience problem comes from how many e-book buyers will come in on their mobiles or their tablets. The website has to be set up in a way that it is easily navigable on one of these tiny screens. People in the book businesses who start e-book stores, need to remember that it’s just as easy for anyone to go up to Amazon. Things have to the set up just as well when your website competes with the big boys.