Sunday, November 22, 2015

Will A Pop-Up Bookstore Open By You?

This holiday season communities across the country will see pop-up stores mysteriously appear out of nowhere.  They will sell items that are seasonal, great gift items, or something that people will be open to buying with year-end disposable income.  Why aren’t any of these stores ones that sell books?

On the one hand, bookstores shouldn’t be temporary.  They should be long-lasting structures that support the community they serve, as if a church, school, or hospital.  On the other hand, books should be sold everywhere, and if it means this comes in the form of a pop-up store, so be it.

What would be great is if a pop-up bookstore arrives, it does so well that it decides to stay permanently.  Let the pop-up audition lead to long-term success.

Pop-up stores fill voids.  Landlords want something to fill their space and get some rent.  Communities benefit when these stores sell something useful.  Nomadic commercialism goes with our freelancer economy. Everything is temporary, from outsourcing labor overseas to part-time workers domestically.

Perhaps what would be helpful to the book industry would be to have pop-up and permanent stores have book displays in their otherwise non-book stores.  Let’s have candy, clothing, electronic, and sporting goods stores sell books.  Some already do, but the vast majority don’t.

Maybe what’s needed is a dual-usage store.  How about a location that has books on display during certain days of the week or hours of the day, and then alternatively, something else is sold during the other hours.  It’s similar to how community spaces or athletic fields or sports arenas are used for multiple things.

Another way to use space creatively is to have a split store, where a portion of the space is used to sell something other than books.  Many bookstores sell music, games, magazines and gift items, but what if a bookstore sold women’s shoes or wine or pizza?

One model book publishers can adopt is the farmer’s market concept.  Once a week or once a month, a town’s parking lot or vacant space is used to house fresh food sales, organic foods, or home cooked items.  How about a book market comes every Saturday to a public space in town?

I think all libraries should sell books, new or used.  Some will hold a sale once every so often to dump donations they don’t need or can’t house, but libraries should have a commercial venue as part of their establishment.  Have a coffee bar, sell books, and serve the community.

Books thrive when they are purchased and recommended to others.  The more places that sell books, including pop-up stores, the better chance we’ll see more books sell and further growth in the book industry.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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