I know this probably doesn’t come as any revelation to any of you, but the modern book store is much different than stores of yesteryear.
I was sitting in an Indigo store (Canadian book chain) and it was very interesting to see how things have changed.
Since the inception of coffee shops in bookstores, the entire dynamic is different. Books hold less of a central spot in the store. Toys, games and assorted items are now for sale. But why?
After a day in the store, I think I can start to put my finger on it. Friends and families are now going to book stores as a central meeting place. The adults sit and visit and drink coffee while the kids “browse”. Do you need a last minute gift? A variety of toys are now available for purchase during hours that put a lot of toy stores to shame. I even saw the unfortunate by-product of poor parenting, specifically those parents who dump their children at the book store while they go grocery shopping, to the movies or whatever.
Still, talking to the store managers, I learned that, while books may not be the only focus, the other things that draw people into the store ultimately translates into profits which keep the stores open and books on the shelves.
Bookstores have also become more of a family destination. That doesn’t always translate into more literacy but it can’t help but make our kids feel better about books. Hopefully that encourages more reading which, ultimately brings a broader love for books in general.