Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Latte and a Book to Go

When we talk about the demise of the independent bookstore we see many reasons. As we stated yesterday change happens and with every opportunity there is always a threat.

Costa coffee shops has announced that it will now do author tours, why queue in a booksops when you can get a free muffin and coffee in a coffee shop and sit and read the book at lesuire? We see Starbucks now selling books in 450 store and although this is a very limited offer it is a great and obvious way forward for them and publishers.

So where does this take us? Have bookshops welcomed coffee stores into their premises like the Trojan’s welcomed a certain wooden horse?
The reality is that this interest by coffee shops to add an extra offer into their highly competitive mix is good for business. Just as garden stores and other specialist stores sell books there is no difference. What would be different is if a coffee shop and a bookstore were to blur into one where one finishes and the other starts becomes unclear.

The interesting scenario was if Starbucks started to have a local print on demand facility after all it often takes some time to make that cappuccino and wouldn’t it be nice to have a book as well sir – freshly made too. This is not science fiction but just a case of establishing the right proposition and economics. What if they had a book vending machine in the corner, limited offer but service with no labour? What if some bright publisher forgot the tome and started selling in short stories, brand wrapped and ready to go! We also must recognise that these retailers are already wifi-ing their outlets so we can see the digital download offer could be one click away. The point is that to these retailers this is added consumer value and new money and importantly if if takes little overhead it’s a no-brainer.