Last year, I wrote about how Chapters had created reading boutiques in their stores. Imagine a table that can sit eight people, surrounded by three shelves of books. The table always has a pile of books and a few magazines as well. That’s what Chapters had.
This fall, the South Keys store took it out. They also took some shelves out in order to make room for more merchandise. For awhile they still had a reading table on the other side of the store, but when I visited last week, the table had been replaced by a books display.
It’s hard to tell what the book business is like. Sure, digital books are probably hurting store sales. Independents have struggled for years. I can remember the big debate over the merit of stores like Chapters when they first started popping up. These big box stores that sold books were going to put independent stores out of business. And for some, the opening of those big box stores, probably drove the weak ones out of business.
So here we are a couple of decades later and Chapters is filling up more and more of their stores with merchandise because books alone don’t cut it.
That’s not a criticism. Chapters has to do what it has to do in order to get people in the doors to make some money. If not, then there will be no books at all to sell.