My original post on this subject is back at my old Fantasy Debut blog. Since I put up the post back when Border’s financial woes first went public, I thought I’d revisit the topic now, three years later, as Border’s goes bankrupt.
I still think it was a mistake to take bookstores out of the malls, and to put them in bigbox stores in strip malls. I know that the rent on those mall stores was expensive, but I’m not sure the addition of coffee shops made up the difference. The coffee shops held no attraction for me. I don’t go to the bookstore to eat, or even to sip coffee while reading. I don’t drink coffee. The only time I ever went to the coffee shop is when my daughter wanted a hot cocoa, or the very occasional times I would meet someone at the bookstore. When I go to the bookstore, I go to buy a book, and then I want to leave a soon as possible so I can plop on the couch and read it.
I know, I know. I can’t judge the behavior of everyone based on my behavior. I don’t remember if bookstores were struggling like this back in the 90s, when they started disappearing from malls. I know the big killer of bookstores was most likely the Internet and Amazon. But I do know that the bookstores didn’t visibly change much since the coffee shop/bookstore first started appearing, except all the bookstores started adding their own websites, and e-readers appeared.
Again, judging from my own behavior, if bookstores would start putting the bookstores back in the malls, it would become a weekly stop when my daughter and make our weekly fun trip to the mall. And since sometimes Daddy comes along on a Friday or Saturday night, that would be up to two trips in a week. And it would be SO EASY to buy a paperback and a chapbook during every trip.
Nowadays? I visit the bookstore maybe once a month. When I want a book between trips, I either wait, or I download it to my Nook. (But not through Barnes & Noble’s website, because I find their process too buyer-unfriendly.) But maybe I’m just pining for the good old days. The extensive book sections in Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart show that the impulse shopper will still buy books. They just need more opportunities.
What about you? Would you visit bookstores more often if they were in more convenient places like malls? Or do you just buy everything online, regardless?