When it comes to visiting bookstores, much like music stores, the questions is whether to go to the large mainstream bookstore chains such as Barnes and Noble or Books A Million, or to the small indie bookstores such as Busboys and Poets. With the giant bookstore chains you can find more titles and new selections, but with the smaller bookstores, you can find lesser known titles and more rare finds. You can also get a more personal and unique feel. So it all depends on personal preference and taste.
At the larger chains, they offer a more spacious environment and places where one can sit down and enjoy a book without feeling crowded. In addition, they offer a wide selections of books to meet the needs of the general public. Many of them also partner with coffee shops such as Starbucks to bring in more customers, and they can also host events to increase publicity.
However, one issue bigger bookstores have is not giving their customers a unique experience in order to create customer loyalty. This is where some of the smaller bookstores come in. They may not have the same offerings of the bookstore giants, but they can offer a better experience through unique offerings and a community environment. Busboys and Poets is a great example. It isn’t just a bookstore; it’s also a great spot for people to meet each other for business discussions or casual get-togethers with friends. It is also a good spot for interacting and networking with the community and holding events. Busboys and Poets brands itself as a trendy, intellectual place to interact with people, read books and enjoy food. It also markets itself as an organization that cares about social issues such as the country’s cultural and mental diversity. They have books and also a second floor full of dining tables for food and drinks. This gives their patrons a unique experience and reasons to keep coming back.
One common factor that both types of bookstores share is that they are all adversely impacted by the power of the internet. This has hurt sales and business, forcing these bookstores to change and reinvent their business models. In this day and age, many people go online to Amazon, Ebay and other e-commerce sites to peruse and purchase books. It not only often saves them money, it saves them the time and effort of physically going to a bookstore to purchase books. Another problem for the smaller bookstore is the proliferation of the ebook and reading devices such as the Kindle. Because many of the bigger shops have an online presence and offer their own reading devices and can sell ebooks online, they are able to take advantage of this. However, the smaller shops don’t have this luxury, as they don’t have the funds to invest in their proprietary products. This means that these smaller bookstores must take advantage of what they can offer, which is a community experience and a place where people can interact and participate in events.