Whatever be your business, there is an opportunity to innovate

With so much going on online when it comes to books (eBooks, multimedia books, kindle, book summaries etc.) you would think that there is nothing you can do to innovate on the business model of selling physical books. Read and Return comes along hoping to change the game.

I saw this at a bookstore in San Francisco Airport. The business model is simple

* You buy the book
* Return it within 6 months along with the original receipt and get back 50% of what you paid.

Now I have not done a detailed analysis on whether this might work or not. However, I thought about what the company might have been thinking when it came up with this business model. Here are my thoughts on that.

* An online book store already sells at a discount of about 35%. So all they are promising is a discount of 15% more. Now that’s a big incentive but if you think about it, they are getting the book back and if they can sell that book for 25% of the original price on eBay, they have made the model work.
* Only a small percentage of people will return the book. So for all the majority who don’t return, the bookstore has charged 100% of the price. It’s already a big win right there.
* They have also created a feeling of “risk free” purchase and created a “perceived incentive” to make the purchase NOW.

Like any other innovation, ultimately the verdict is handed out by the marketplace but I wish them the very best.