Bloomberg has a story about an unexpected phenomenon - a resurgence by physical bookstores.
"Barnes & Noble, which once said it would whittle itself down to 450 stores by 2022, started the year with 625 — and plans to add 20 to 25 more in 2022. James Daunt, who took over as chief executive officer in 2019 after hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. acquired the company, has been refurbishing existing stores and empowering store managers to use their local knowledge. Book sales have boomed during the pandemic, up 13% year over year, and at least 172 new independent bookstores opened in 2021. Some of those indies have even taken to the mall."
It ends up, Bloomberg suggests, that people may once again be embracing bookstores "because those bookstores were never just about books — they were about access, and freedom. The chains reached deeper into America, and brought books to a wider demographic, than today’s approximately 6,000 stores can. Yes, we have Amazon now. But it will never be the same as sitting on the carpet in some under-trafficked aisle and reading your first Sweet Valley High, your first Stephen King, or your first biography of The Great One."
You can read it here.
- KC's View:
Bloomberg makes the point that these bookstores are occupying a "third place" position - that place, in addition to home and work, where people can find comfort and community. What's interesting about that is that there is much speculation about what Starbucks needs to do as it pivots away from a third-place strategy that it may deem to be less relevant at the moment.