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Monday, 4 March 2013

Bookshops and Libraries

This Economist piece on the future of bookshops caught my eye.  The tips on designing bookshops sound not dissimilar to those on designing libraries.  However, there is a contrast in the treatment of a cafe.  At Willesden Library Centre, a cafe is planned for the ground floor.  The Economist suggests putting it at the top of the building. This may be the difference between a fully commercial outfit seeking to draw people further up the building and making money at each stage, and the need of an independently run cafe in an essentially non-commercial building.

Other than that, the two situations sound very similar with the library having the advantage of being completely free, which the bookshop lacks.  As ebooks come to dominate the world of books, libraries may well have an important niche in terms of being a place where you can browse and try out books.  Certainly, for all the gloom surrounding libraries, this sounds like something they are better suited to than traditional bookshops.

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