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Old March 19th, 2013, 01:32 AM   #1
Legomaniac
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The 21st Century Bookshop

Hello, currently I have a project for my studio class that revolve around the idea of what and how a modern bookshop should be. The idea is to integrate all the different factors that will allow this bookstore to prevail over current massacre this business is facing. Some of the questions to ask are how should it be different from others? What qualities would allow it to really take the model a bookshop forward? How can the building become even more functional than just your average dying Borders or the thriving Amazon?

All are welcomed to toss in ideas and contribute to the discussion.

Cheers
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Old April 13th, 2013, 04:57 AM   #2
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Old April 14th, 2013, 05:22 AM   #3
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My problem with Bookstores in the US is that for some reason everyone believes bookstores are passe and cant survive. Everyone claims all books are going to be digitally ordered from now on, but I know very few people who have ordered any significant number of digital books other than a few novels for reading, which they would never have gotten from a full fledged bookstore to being with.

Borders failed, and Barnes and Noble is failing, because they are trying to trim down their selection to be just a few of the most profitable books. The more they cut down, the more people turn online to order. I think a successful bookstore is going to be huge with a full selection of books, particularly large specific topic books. People want to browse - bookstores are more than just a pick up a book and go thing - you go there for entertainment.

Bookstores should be showcases for stuff you can order online right from the store. If you want it right then you pay full price. Or, you can order it and have it shipped with the twice a week shipment from the warehouse for a cheaper price. They should also be community spaces - places for people who have interests. Provide meeting spaces, provide sitting spaces for people who read. I used to buy books constantly, even though half of them I ordered online. Now that we don't have a decent bookstore where you can sit and read through a book, I don't bother even going. It is just as easy to do my shopping on Amazon.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
My problem with Bookstores in the US is that for some reason everyone believes bookstores are passe and cant survive. Everyone claims all books are going to be digitally ordered from now on, but I know very few people who have ordered any significant number of digital books other than a few novels for reading, which they would never have gotten from a full fledged bookstore to being with.

Borders failed, and Barnes and Noble is failing, because they are trying to trim down their selection to be just a few of the most profitable books. The more they cut down, the more people turn online to order. I think a successful bookstore is going to be huge with a full selection of books, particularly large specific topic books. People want to browse - bookstores are more than just a pick up a book and go thing - you go there for entertainment.

Bookstores should be showcases for stuff you can order online right from the store. If you want it right then you pay full price. Or, you can order it and have it shipped with the twice a week shipment from the warehouse for a cheaper price. They should also be community spaces - places for people who have interests. Provide meeting spaces, provide sitting spaces for people who read. I used to buy books constantly, even though half of them I ordered online. Now that we don't have a decent bookstore where you can sit and read through a book, I don't bother even going. It is just as easy to do my shopping on Amazon.
The people I know in the business all say the same thing: in order to survive, you have to own your building. Bookstores were always labors of love. The big box model only came about recently (although chains of small stores like Waldenbooks emerged alongside the mall in the 1950s), while most booksellers were small businesspeople immersed in the culture of books. Their biggest foes have been greedy landlords and the loss of distributors as monsters like Amazon, Costco, et al. sucked up the mass market trade. Booksellers who deal in unique, antiquarian or niche areas will survive but others just cant compete on price. Used bookstores still thrive but again, you'd better own your building.
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Old January 7th, 2014, 11:02 AM   #5
NickABQ
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^

All very good points.

I love bookstores...they are fascinating, indulgent places that are meant to transport you far away and allow you the opportunity to escape. Thats what books are about.

I see three things that are wrong with bookstores, especially big-box stores.

1. Seating and comfort. I have been told numerous times at Barnes and Noble and formerly Border's that I was not allowed to sit in the aisle to thumb through a book. Additionally, they provided very little seating, and none of it in a comfortable place.

2. Crap books. The almight dollar has puched the majority of retail booksellers to offer crap. Very little on the shelves in engaging, or what people look for, and so, the desire to do little more than just pick some bargain book off the shelf for some thoughtless last minute gift is encouraged.

3. Coffee shop culture and bland engagement. So much of going to Barnes and Noble now is about getting a coffee on your way to something else. The interiors are drab and unsinpiring, do not encourage thought, exploration or creativety.

What reason do people have to go to a bookshop now? The culture of the book has all but disappeared from retailers today. To compete, they need to bring that back.

In Denver we have a really good chain retailer called The Tattered Cover that is able to blend some of these elements back into big box retailing.

They are very successful and popular here because of that.
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