I was poking around on the Reddit the other day and stumbled upon this cool thing on moreintelligentlife.com. They proposed to four different architecture groups a challenge: design a bookstore that will save… bookstores. In our current era of the Mass Consumption Wars, fought between the bulwarks of the booksmiths and their ancient adversary and current ally, the brick goliaths, and the cybersellers, perhaps what the former side lacks is the latest weaponry.
There’s some interesting visions here, tempered by the realization that “design alone will not save the bookstore” and that, in order to draw people in, you must provide a service and environment that they can’t get from purchasing online. But technology and innovation abound! I particularly like 20.20’s concept.
In 20.20’s bookshop (top) people could do all sorts of things: download reviews and e-books (which would be discounted if bought in person), buy printed books from a frequently edited selection, consult well-informed staff, have a coffee or sandwich, read in cubbyholes, listen to audio books, watch a performance by an author, rent a desk at which to write or illustrate, and self-publish on the in-house printing press. The shop would be called The Art of Storytelling, the thinking being that stories endure, no matter what form books take.
Rent a writing space? Sounds nuts, but I like to get out of the house to write a lot, and if the store provided an environment that I valued (there’s that word again), I’d consider it. And the rest of it, particularly the in-house printing press and the bit about stories enduring, hits me in the feels.
My two cents is, I’d like to have a place where local authors can engage with their local readers, much like musicians do. My nearest indie, the always-stupendous Tattered Cover, hosts a ton of events with nationally touring authors, but I think more could be done for locals, too.
Check out the whole article, it’s a cool read, and encouraging to know that for lovers of bookstores, there’s hope for a bright future.