Oh I think there’s still purpose to a site for small stores: it gives information about hours and events and such. It can pass on the staff recommendations, and let us know about new stuff.
I guess what I’m thinking about is the technology necessary to scan in old books (I am, after all, a technologist) or otherwise automate inventory management. Sure, this is ‘beyond the barcode’ kind of stuff, but books have long been ordered — libraries made sure of that. Would be nice to have a meta service for small bookstores that they could plugin for search; there’s invoicing data for example, it just doesn’t propagate to inventory on arrival. Also a way to capture images or the publishing information when they come in without humans having to do it. We have things like that popping up in other arenas.. peer driven music discovery, etc.
Worth noting that POS systems, which have been sloppy and expensive in the past, are rapidly improving with online offerings like square. There’s more specialized programming for metrics, inventory, etc. so maybe it will evolve into online buying usefulness.