Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Visiting Stores

So one of the next steps to this bookstore is visiting all the bookstores in the Seattle area to get a feel for the industry. This will probably take close to a year, but what I am trying to solidify before I get to the visitations is the criteria/questions by which I review the bookstores.

I need your help here.

What are some questions you would have? Here is what I have come up with so far:
  1. Description of building/how do the bones of the building contribute to the atmosphere of the store?
  2. Services offered? (Coffee, etc)
  3. What is being sold besides books?
  4. Furniture?
  5. Parking?
  6. Location?

Any other thoughts? I could really use your suggestions.


BC said...

Well, I think you might have to take some time and write down what it is you want from Booklings - and not specifics mind you. I'm thinking emotions, feelings, vibe.

When you want into a book store, what would be your ultimate experience? How would you feel? What senses would be touched and tickled? How would different aspects of the store play into your experience?

Once you have those answered, then you can be better suited to critique others.

If that doesn't make sense I apologize, it made more sense in my head...

mme. bookling said...

perfect sense actually - i know precisely what you mean.

answering it, however - is harder. those things are so subjective - and describing things is where words often fail me.

lemme try.

mme. bookling said...
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mme. bookling said...
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-B. said...

how they seperate their books into categories, and which categories they sell.

Also the arrangement of books. Do you get lost trying to find the shelves, is clutter conducive to cozy reading or is it stressful... I've seen it both ways.

UmberDove said...

I love walking into a bookstore that is quiet but still maintains ambient sound (nothing worse than silence and the creepy old man peering through the bookshelves at you checking to see if you are lifting his cheap paperbacks - wow, that all just came out very unplanned, right...).

I like warm woods and easy lighting - bright enough to comfortably read but not feel like a chain store.

I LOVE being able to sit (outside is best) with my purchases and have a glass of pino grigio or an almond croissant.

I enjoy the unusual, handmade / letterpressed card selection at several of the bookstore around here (I will NEVER buy cards from a mass retailer, but ALWAYS visit bookstores and boutiques, and usually end up buying more than I came in for).

I basically judge a bookstore by its art book selection. If all they have are Warhol and Picasso books I'll probably never return to the store. (I know, harsh but I am that market) If I am impressed with their selection (as in non-Border's choices, artists who are currently defining the scene, at least 2-3 books on art theory, etc, etc) then it will become a magical place I will spend too much money in and take all my friends to.

I have more thoughts but it's time for a little Always Sunny in Philly. See you soon!

Melissa said...

I love bookstores with secret little nooks. Bookstores with an oldish feel about it are definitely up my alley (dark wood, stained glass). I like when my eyes have to adjust to the light (or lack thereof) when I walk in. I do prefer the clutter (if it's done right... is that an oxymoron?). I love used books mixed with new and I love hunting for that special book. I enjoy browsing the owner/employee recommendations since I normally have no idea what book I am going to buy when I walk in the door.

I want to experience a feeling of nostalgia/being at home/visiting an old friend I haven't seen in a while.

And... I've always wanted to use a rolling library ladder.

Nancy said...

find out if they have any way of fostering community associated with the store : regular author events, email list, blog, bookclub.. writing seminars, participation in local festivals or schools?

any particular niche of subject matter or clientele?

Nancy said...

something else, (i mentioned blogs but also..) do they have an online component to the store? do they sell/ship/take orders for pick-up online? is the store inventory searchable, etc...