So the hot bookstore news this month includes Amazon’s new stores in Atlanta and Bethesda, B&N’s new restaurant bookstores in Dallas and Ashburn, VA (opening on 2 November), and Indigo’s planned expansion into the US.
One of these things is not like the others. One of these things does not belong.
From the Financial Post:
Indigo Books and Music is expanding into the competitive U.S. market at a time when many retailers are scaling back on square footage.
The Toronto-based company, which has managed to mitigate the effects of Amazon on its core categories over the last decade, will open its first store next summer in New Jersey.
“We are going to open three to five stores over two years and test the market response to the concept,” chief executive officer Heather Reisman told a conference call with analysts and investors on Thursday. “We will definitely open a couple before making any commitments (to further growth plans).”
Indigo said it will open its first 30,000 square-foot outlet at the Mall at Short Hills, N.J., in a location that used to be a 100,000 square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue store.
The thing about Indigo is that they have achieved the transition that B&N is still struggling with. Indigo is a post-bookstore chain; they call themselves a “cultural department store”, and attribute their success to growing sales of throw pillows, tchotchkes, and other general merchandise. (They also sell Kobo ereaders, but that is a relatively small part of their revenues.)
Given that Indigo has even said in their post recent investors’ conference call that they had transformed “from a traditional book store to a cultural department store for book lovers”, should we really be celebrating the expansion as if they were still a bookstore chain?
Is this really book news?