Because of the significant technological evolution and the appearance of book-length publications in digital form, the future of the book store is uncertain. Traditional book stores seem to be failing as more and more readers choose online websites such as Amazon, Half.com and other online shops. Most readers haven’t bought a physical book in years. E-books are cheaper, easier to use, lighter and more fun.
Digital publications have put book stores in an existential predicament with a grim expectation for the future. Experts say that print titles will be outsold by 2015 in the U.S. and in Britain. Because book stores are on borrowed time, the owners must figure out a way to make their business more interesting. For a book store to remain successful, the experience of buying books must be improved. Architects suggest that the atmosphere is vital, therefore exteriors must burst with activity and eye-catching presentations.
The future book stores must adopt one or more successful approaches, such as creating a small, quiet place padded with books. Another great idea is a large space where customers can read or a larger but more intimate space designed for events like book launches and author talks. In an attempt to diversify, many book stores have built coffee shops run by them on the highest floor. Before reaching the shop, customers have to walk through a book display with promotional items. Furthermore, the coffee keeps them in the store for a longer period of time and increases the chances that they will buy something.
Diversifying is a great idea for a book store, but before owners implement a strategy, they must evaluate if the core product is good enough. Future stores will work with various publishers to create special editions with an extra chapter, epilogue or background, sold only in that specific location. Mystery shelves will display books wrapped in opaque paper. Passionate readers will be able to make a monthly or yearly subscription for book groups tailored by genre. The books picked up inside the book store or delivered to their homes will have a personalized interview from the writer, available only in that store.
A printed book usually costs more than the online print or an e-book. To survive, stores will sell books in many forms, including digital, self-printed, rare, second-hand and e-books for digital and hybrid readers. Shop owners will team up with self-published authors and promote their books. Some will even have self-printing book machines that provide an identical quality with that of a book printed by a publishing house. With all these options available, book stores still have a future ahead. Their faith is a is a cliff-hanger, but with hard work, imagination and perseverance, anything is possible.