Learning from Libraries?

Borders new concept stores

Many years ago, when Borders began to expand their stores beyond Ann Arbor, media reports often commented, with some amazement, that they seemed like libraries. The stores had comfy chairs, encouraged browsing, offered lots of titles and even allowed people to read books they didn’t buy.

This week, Reuters trumpets,”New Borders Stores Combine Literary and Digital Worlds.” Hmm, now that sounds even MORE like a library. USA Today, in comparing bricks and mortar stores to online booksellers, reports, “One of the saving graces for bookstores, say analysts, consumers and industry officials, is they offer people with shared interests a site to gather and socialize.” Hmm, sounds like ALA past president, Leslie Burger, talking about libraries as community centers.

Borders premiered the first of its new “concept stores” yesterday. As USA Today puts it, the chain “hopes to reverse years of sluggish sales by reinventing itself as a hub for knowledge, entertainment and digital downloading.” They plan to open thirteen more stores by the end of the year. Among the new offerings, Borders is working with Internet companies such as Ancestor.com to allow customers to do genealogy searches.

It’s amusing to read about Borders new approaches to merchandising, like displaying cooking magazines and books together. How many different shelving approaches have libraries tried over the years?Borders press release gives full details (with a few ideas worth stealing).

One Response to “Learning from Libraries?”

  1. Denise Engel Says:

    I would like to see more of this type of content on the site regarding the comparison/contrast to booksellers and libraries. I know I am always looking at ways to “merchandise” library books to patrons. Since booksellers need to be on the edge of what their customers are looking for, I think we can borrow/steal some of these ideas.