But anecdotally, as someone who lives impulse-distance to at least two Indigo stores, I have to wonder if that’s really about the books. The one location boasts an American Girl sub-store, and the other has an impressive stationery section based upon a quarter of a floor’s worth of Moleskine products.
There is definitely a shrinking of retail space for books in our book chain these days! But what I am noticing simultaneously is an interesting little uptick in book shelf space elsewhere. At the art store I regularly visit, the coloring books have slowly been crowding out the space where the sale table used to be. It makes sense, actually. Art stores often keep sample items for customers to try before they buy. This would make them a superior destination over Indigo for the customer who actually wants to buy a coloring book.
Similarly, a video game store which the Beloved enjoys has just moved locations to a much bigger space. Much of it is still, of course, occupied by video game gear. But there is a not-too-shabby comic book section too, and tables at the back where fans of such things can have meetups and do workshops. Given the dominance of character-related titles in the video game sector, it is a natural pairing. Where is the harm?
It has me wondering if in today’s era of information overload, where every interest possible can be well-represented, people even want a ‘book’ store anymore. Maybe they want a kid’s store (which happens to sell books) and an art store (which happens to sell books) and a sports store ;which happens to’ and so on.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with this model. I have always felt that the ‘print vs pixel’ either/or binary has been a false economy. Some genres lend themselves more to a paper treatment. Certainly, comic books and coloring books are an example. Why not give these books the deluxe retail stores, and save the pixels for novels and plain-text titles where it doesn’t matter? I will happily shop at the Kindle store for my fiction. But a nice art store with a good coloring book selection? I can spend hours there, trying out the different pens and markers, then choosing a book to go with them. It’s an experience. That’s what bookstores used to be!
Photo credit: Here.
Related: Amazon bookstores: Where they might go and what their real end game might be, in the Washington Post.