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18 September 2014 @ 10:42 pm
Things That Make a Bookstore  
I had a fellow come into the bookstore today who insisted, over and over and over again, that what we needed was a couch. Never mind that we have purple plush chairs all over the place; ignore the fact that there's nowhere a couch would fit that would still allow the store to be ADA compliant. WE CANNOT BE A BOOKSTORE WITHOUT A COUCH!

I really wanted to say, "What will a couch bring to the store? Well, teenagers like to make out in them. Dogs like to jump on them. People will feel more entitled to sit all day and read our books instead of buying them. Look, if you can convince me that the couch will be of economic benefit to the store, I'm willing to listen. But I'm really not seeing how we, as a business, will benefit."

But I kept my mouth shut because, you know, customer service. I offered him a chair, which he refused, and kept trying to redirect the conversation towards books. Finally, after his fifth or sixth repetition of "You guys need a couch," I asked him where he would put the sofa, which stymied him because, as I said, there's no space to put one.

He left soon after that. No sale, naturally. Perhaps if we'd had a couch..?

But I doubt it.

moreteadk on September 21st, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
It's peculiar to me that you even have any seating at all. We don't have that in this country. It's a shop, not a library, and it's frowned upon to actually read something you haven't bought. (Obviously, you're allowed to open a book and look through it, but actually beginning to read properly? No.) We don't typically have coffee bars inside unrelated to coffee and similar shops either.

Also, my current notebook is one of those in the bottom right corner there. Just thought I'd mention. Mine has Balzac's notes for Eugénie Grandet on the cover. Excellent quality. :)
Suzik00kaburra on September 21st, 2014 06:23 pm (UTC)
There's a huge push here for stores to become a "third place", after work/school and home, for people to feel comfortable and at home so that they'll return frequently and spend more money. Thus, the chairs - it's all to encourage folks to think of the shop as more than just a store, but as a community home.

Does it work? Who knows. I probably wouldn't include chairs if I'd designed the store, but we do have an older population and I've found that many older readers will pick up four or five books, sit down and read a few pages from each one and then choose one or two to buy. Would they consider book choices so carefully if they had to stand? My instinct is probably not.

Aren't the Paperblanks notebooks fantastic? I love how sturdy they are! I'd love to have the Balzac one - I don't think it's in our store. There's a simply gorgeous Chopin manuscript one that has his hadwrittne musical notes on it.
moreteadk on September 21st, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
I've had the Balzac one for years. I bought it one of the first times I visited Husband's family. Spent half my pocket money in a book store in Cambridge in one go. :) It has probably gone out of production now. It would make sense for them to be sort of limited edition things. :) I remember there was one with Mozart as well and a couple of other things. I didn't know anything about Balzac but it was the most writer-y one, so that's what I went for. :)