download.jpegHere’s an interesting story from the major daily paper here:

Indigo Makes Bigger Play for Toy Market

Buried four paragraphs in, this throwaway line hints at potential big news for trend watchers following the book market right now:

“With the popularity of e-readers, like Indigo’s Kobo, freeing up more shelf space, a number of book retailers are expanding into new categories to boost sales.”

Indigo is Canada’s version of Borders or Barnes and Noble—the major book store chain—and a major shareholder in Kobo. If it’s true that their Kobo plans are freeing up valuable retail real estate, it makes sense they want to fill it, and pundits have been speculating more often recently about how stores like this will do it in the face of all the e-growth.

So, what do I think of this strategy? I think it’s a smart one, actually. According to this article, they don’t plan to compete with WalMart or Toys R Us as a major toy seller. Rather, they are competing the the smaller educational specialists—one of the two stores mentioned in the article as comparison caters to teachers and the other is a very trendy, high-end boutique operation.

“When I talk about specialty, I talk about a curated selection. Not carrying everything. A strong emphasis on educational toys. Lots of toys from specialty manufacturers who don’t sell to the mass market. It’s more about the service experience and curation of the selection.”

In other words, they are trying to think about what sort of toys a person who enjoys books would buy. It’s a potentially interesting cross-marketing move, and one I bet the independent toy store retailers won’t see coming. This could be huge competition for them. Who would have thought that of all people to worry about the ebook business affecting their bottom line, a dealer in something as tangible as a toy would have to be concerned?


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