I have no idea how many comments I’ve fielded about how synonymous a used bookshop and a coffee hangout are. It’s just the perfect, most fitting environment for it, right? I mean, you’re sitting around with fine literature almost waiting to grab your pipe and coffee.
But, let’s consider the business side of it…
How many times have you walked into the big chain bookstores and seen aisles partially empty and coffee shops buzzing with activity? This is the obvious proof that they work… so I thought.
Think about it. What does providing a comfortable hangout attract? Children.
What kind of profits does it offer? Whatever is in the wallets of an illiterate nation.
The last time I checked, teenagers are not often seen in my store perusing the indexes of classic anthologies. Simply put, they do not bring the kind of financial potential you would think.
Now, I know that teenagers are not the only people who enjoy a coffee shop. But, we all know of those places that the teens flock to in the evenings. Generally, the adults don’t also frequent those same hideaways. If you are in a town that loves—or is in need of—a place that teenagers can go to just sit around, be careful with the coffee decision.
One big bonus is that it does add to the ambiance of the bookstore experience. Like I said, though, you shouldn’t necessarily expect it to supplement revenues.
I primarily wrote this article to find out if the coffee shop decision is working for any of you out there. We are soon to open our second store (www.gottwalsbooks.com) and we have the room to do it… if it will make sense.