New Bookstore Formats: Innovative & Inspiring
Bricks-and-mortar bookshops are refinding favour with consumers, forging intriguing new formats. Sales in physical bookstores in the US alone grew by 2.5% last year – the first increase since 2007 (US Census Bureau, 2016). We list the latest strategies boosting in-store engagement, from on-demand commerce and enforced digital detoxing, to ultra-immersive visual merchandising.
- Book Printing On Demand: Parisian bookstore La Librairie des Puf houses virtually no stock, instead enabling customers to print titles on request thanks to its on-site Espresso Book Machine, developed by NY-based digital printing experts On Demand Books. Consumers can browse an online catalogue of approximately three million titles on in-store tablets, select a book they want to purchase and even add inscriptions. The printing process takes just five minutes.
- Quiet Immersion – Retreat into Relaxation: Shanghai-based architecture studio XL-Muse has designed the Zhongshuge-Hangzhou bookshop in the city of Hangzhou, Eastern China. The space is divided into three parts. The first space is all white, and filled with vertical tree-like display columns, which are reflected in the mirror-lined walls and ceilings, generating a sense of endless repetition and vastly extended height.
- Trading heavily on the power of relaxation, a wall opening leads customers to a considerably darker, second space. This quiet zone is referred to as the 'reading corridor' – a space where visitors can browse books on floor-to-ceiling shelving and relax in a seating area. From there, visitors can proceed to a still more intimate, oval-shaped 'reading theatre' area. Softly illuminated dark wooden bookshelves encircle the room, the centre of which features beige cushioned seating positioned next to reading lamps. The room also features a mirrored ceiling, creating a similar sense of boundlessness.
- The last part is a children's area – a much lighter, more colourful space with playful, themed book displays shaped like a rollercoaster, a pirate ship and a merry-go-round. See also Sensory Brand Spaces Part 2: Sanctuary and Gilded Urbanism, Next Generation Retail for Kids and Toy Worlds: Targeting Gen Me.
- Digital Detox: Similarly trading on the impressive notion of boundlessness, which encourages a free and relaxing environment, the cavernous interior of Libreria in London features undulating wooden shelves reflected infinitely in a mirrored ceiling. The concept is inspired by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges' tale called The Library of Babel – a short story that describes a universe within an infinite library. The vast interior also deploys gentle yellow lighting and a strict no-phone policy to encourage shoppers to explore without distraction. Spanish architect SelgasCano designed the space.
See also Amazon Books: E-Tailer Opens Physical Store to read about the third Amazon store being opened this autumn in Oregon, following the success of two stores in Seattle and San Diego.