Saturday, February 16, 2008

Borders Goes Digital: The Future of Bookstores?

Just got back from a school visit at Mariemont Elementary School in Sacramento, CA and boy are my vocal chords tired! Great kids. Well organized. Amazing posters the kids made showing each of the Joe Sherlock books. And hilarious questions from the kids. The two best were, "How tall is your wife?" and "Why don't you have a cat?"

While in the state capital, I was nursing me gnarled voice box at Starbucks when I ran across a USA Today article about Borders bookstores being in the early stages of adding major "digital" sections to their stores, an attempt to attract younger customers and compete with the likes of It's an interesting article that highlights the future of the competitive and rapidly changing book-selling business. (BTW, I still think Borders should put a little more "design thoughts" into their children's book area, which I often find confusing, crowded and not sectioned off like Barnes & Noble's children's section—which makes it easier to keep your kids corralled.)

A fews interesting factoids that caught my eye:

• The average customer spends about an hour in a Borders
• More than half the books sold in the USA are bought by people over 50
• Online bookselling still commands an edge over big-box bookstores and will continue to exert financial pressure on Borders and others (mostly because of their DEEP discounts, which bookstores can't compete with)
• More than 100 independent bookstores have opened over the last three years (but they don't say how many closed!)
• Though Borders was the first to add a cafe to a store, Barnes & Noble made a bigger splash when it added Starbucks in 1990.
• Borders has Seattle's Best Coffee cafes, also owned by Starbucks

You can read the article for yourself here.

No comments: