Ed Cotton: Bookstores Need A Social Life
There's enormous value in the power of a physical venue to bring people together, but if you don't do anything with it and offer some value add, why are people going to shop there?
The NYT recently published an article on how independent bookstores, that now account for 10% of book sales, are coping with the changing and challenging environment. Most of the sellers interviewed talked about embracing online with more seriousness, getting into social media and finding complimentary products to sell alongside books.
There seems to be one huge opportunity for bookstores that's pretty much untapped- which involves creating a venue for social engagement. While Starbucks and other coffee houses- pretend to play this role, they don't really do it, as you can tell by looking at the number of solo drinkers and individuals glued to their iPads or laptops- there's very little social interaction happening.