Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

What Would Your Perfect Bookstore Be Like?

April 22nd, 2012 by Debbie's World of Books

The Ideal Bookstore

When Megan from Po(sey) Sessions mentioned she was opening up her own bookstore I thought that was so cool!  It would be my dream come true to open a book store (and make enough money to make it feasible to keep open!) :)

Megan asked me what would I love to see in my ideal bookstore and I had to really think about it (and I mean other than having cheap books because I know in these financial times that is always nice).    I liked going to our local Borders to browse books, I despised going into our Barnes and Nobles and when I went on a trip up to Sonoma with some girlfriends we found the most adorable kids book store!  So I’m sitting here trying to think about what was so different about all of them.  What would your ideal book store be like or if you could open your own book store how would you design it?

I want the bookstore to have an atmosphere that welcomes you in and encourages you not to just buy the book you came in for but to stay and browse or sit and read.  I would focus mainly on fiction for adults, non-fiction books related to a variety of hobbies, young adults and children but offer the ability to order other books as well.

Children’s Section

I would place the children’s section at the back just so they could have their own space to relax and also not bother other customers.

I want the children’s section to be an area where parents feel comfortable enough to sit down with their kids and browse through the books or to offer a weekly story time.  I love this seating option:

Kids Seating

and I would also like to add a small table and chairs along the lines of:

Animal Chairs

I think both are fun, easy to clean up and will draw the kids in and then hopefully the parents.   For the displays I’m a big fan of cover facing outward displays.  I know this takes up a lot of space so I would try to intersperse it among the spine out facing shelves and try to rotate what is on display.  I don’t want the focus to always be on the most popular books as I think that’s what the big chain bookstores do but rather focus around themes or books from local authors.  Like one of the indie stores I visited had this cool display of children’s books about kids around the world like:

This Is The Way We Go To School by Edith BaerSomewhere in the World Right Now by Stacey SchuettOn the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer

Young Adult Section

I think young adult books have some of the most amazing covers and I would focus a lot on forward facing displays and also hanging signs of book covers of some of the most eye catching ones that I wouldn’t have space for to display outward facing.  There are definite trends in young adult fiction that I think lend itself to grouping by genres like contemporary, dystopias/utopias, paranormal, etc.  “If You Liked …Then You Might Like…” cards would be a big focus as well and maybe even hanging signs with short lists of books around topics like “Ten Great Dystopian/Utopian Books Both New and Old” to highlight some of the older titles that customers may not have heard of but are similar to newer books like The Hunger Games or Divergent.

I’ve been attending a lot of local author events and would love to incorporate those regularly.  Both from popular authors from around the country as well as really focusing on local authors.  I’m fortunate to live in an area that has a bunch of great local YA authors like:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiIf I Lie by Corrine JacksonThe Sky is Everywhere by Jandy NelsonPersonal Demons by Lisa DesrochersSilver by Talia VanceGilt by Katherine LongshoreSea by Heidi R. Kling

and I know there are more out there that I’m missing.  So I think it would be great for the local teens to actually meet authors who come from around the area.

Adult Fiction & Non-Fiction

I think having some inviting and comfortable sitting areas is key in this section to invite customers to sit down and read (and then hopefully buy) books.  I like the setup here (minus the fireplace as I would rather utilize that space for more book shelves):

Adult Seating Areas

I would not try to have a huge non-fiction selection as I think genres like history, art and many more are very difficult to compete with Amazon or the larger bookstores that can afford to dedicate floor space to a myriad of topics or carry every title under the sun.  I would rather focus on some of the more popular hobbies in the area like gardening, travel, green living, etc.  It might even be neat to have events like “Intro to Square Footage Gardening” or “Upcycling instead of Trashing” and maybe even team up with other local nurseries, gardening or home improvement stores to offer discounts to those who attend the workshops/events.

Is It Even Possible?

I don’t know how easy it would be and how financially feasible it would be or if it’s even possible but here are a few other things I would love to see in a bookstore or offer in my future dream bookstore:

  • Staffed by people who love reading and have people who are “experts” in the various genres.
  • Bundling ebook copies with the paper copy.  I know I often find myself in situations where having an ebook is ideal & other times I rather have my paper copy but I wouldn’t pay twice to get both. It would be nice to pay maybe a few dollars more for a paper copy and be granted access to the ecopy as well.
  • I’m not that knowledgeable about ereaders but it would be great if I could offer wi-fi in the store and have the first option when a customer opens their browse or purchase window be to see our store’s website and offer the option of buying their ebooks from us rather than Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, etc.
  • Have an ebook section of the store where there could be touch screen displays to browse through a book catalog and then choose to purchase any of those books through our store and have it automatically sent to the customer’s reader.
  • In the ebook section there would be extra seating areas because many times those buying on their reader may be doing so because they want to start a particular book right away.  So why not let them sit down after making their purchase and read the book.

Those are just some of the ideas I could think of off hand.  I don’t know which are possible or financially feasible but in the ideal world that’s what I would love to see or have.

Please share any tidbits about your idea of the ideal/perfect book store would be or what type of service you would love to see.

Posted in Books

One Response

  1. Abigail @ The Story Factory Reading Zone

    I’d also like to have plenty of seating options, including some fun ones for kids. The ones in the adult sections wouuld be in sort of cul-de-sacs amongst the shelves so that they felt private. I’d like to have shelves dedicated to local authors and independent authors. I’d have natural (white) lighting in the shelf areas, and reading lamps near the seats. I’d also have a vending machine selling fairtrade drinks. Near the tills there’d be bargain books, a shelf for book-swaps (on a take one give one basis) and free (bookcrossing registered) books for those that I considered unsellable. I’d also have a little table selling craft bookmarks and other reading paraphenalia.
    We’d hold regular book clubs, literary quizzes, and book readings. These would be held in the lounge area, near the coffee machine.
    Woah, I didn’t realise I had so many ideas about this!

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