Home » Bookstores » The Bookstore of the Future Is Here Today

The Bookstore of the Future Is Here Today

16 March 2016

From Book Business:

I have finally come across the bookstore concept for the future and it’s not coming from Amazon or Barnes & Noble with their cross-channel pipe dreams. It’s Shakespeare and Co., which opened under new ownership in November 2015 and currently operates one store in the Upper East Side of New York, with more planned for the future.

There is one constant across all great retailers and that is their unique ability to instill passion among customers to spend time (and money) with them. They must offer a unique experience. Best Buy accomplished this unique differentiation back when they first brought the excitement of the bumping Consumer Electronics Show into their stores.

. . . .

Shakespeare and Co. is owned by Dane Neller, one of the founders of the Espresso Book Machine and former CEO of Dean and DeLuca, an upscale grocery chain founded in New York. What he and his team have done with their bookstore prototype shows they understand the critical importance of building community in achieving retail success — especially in our lonely age of the internet.

The café as you enter feels like a Dean and DeLuca, with lots of great drinks and food. It was packed on the day I visited and Neller told me they typically serve 400 customers a day in the café alone. The coffee is the lure that brings people in. It’s not set off to the side or in the back. It’s facing the street.

Just beyond the café is the core component of this new vision for the bookstore and its unique ability for creating community: the Espresso Book Machine. Unlike most other bookstores featuring a machine, Shakespeare and Co.’s is right in the heart of the store. It draws curiosity because EBMs are one of the few new things happening in book retailing, which on the whole feels stale to me. Customers are drawn to the machine and are able to watch books being printed on demand. EBM-printed books are also on display and interspersed among traditionally published titles on the main bookshelves.

What this says to customers is, your book could be here too. So the shelves are in fact creating new business for the machine and the store. This works well for a local indie bookseller, as a self-published author living nearby could realistically buy and sell ten copies on her own.

. . . .

[W]hen I want to grab a great cup of coffee, something fresh and healthy to eat, and hang out with other like-minded book lovers, Shakespeare & Co. is the place to go. (Slogan time?) And if I want to feel the pride that comes with authorship and see my book on actual store shelves, I can now enter that rarified world heretofore preserved mostly for well-known authors.

Link to the rest at Book Business


18 Comments to “The Bookstore of the Future Is Here Today”

  1. I wonder how fast to produce a typical paperback novel?

  2. Third Place Books, north of Seattle, did this years ago and it’s been a success.

    “A Public Commons at Lake Forest Park
    With a large public commons, five restaurants, free wireless internet, a community room, a stage, and over one thousand free public events every year, Third Place Books has something for everyone.  Whether you need to study, host a community meeting, or get out of the house for the evening, we hope you will make this your third place.

    Events and the public area within Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park are managed by a community organization, Friends of Third Place Commons, and supported by Third Place Books, the City of Lake Forest Park, and the merchants and management of the Town Center at Lake Forest Park.  For more information about this group or to schedule a community event, please visit the Friends of Third Place Commons web site. 

    Food and Drink and Free WiFi at Ravenna
    Enjoy Vios Cafe, a full-service sit-down Greek restaurant located at the back of the bookstore.  Meet up with friends at the Third Place Pub located below Vios Cafe and the bookstore.  Free WiFi is available throughout the bookstore, Cafe, and Pub.”

  3. Shucky-Dern. Another la-de-da Manhattan emporium catering to the Beautiful Rich Gotham Elites (and no one from the outer 4 boroughs, either.)

    And here I am stuck in LA. Guess I’ll have to forego this exalting experience in high cultural comity. 🙁

    But, hey, the soon-to-be-opened Amazon Book Store in La Jolla is a short run down the coast. 🙂

    • Heh, it’s even better when right below it is:


      Shakespeare & Co. closes downtown locationSeptember 9, 2014In “Bookstores”

      So, a year or so to open one store after closing the other?

      “[W]hen I want to grab a great cup of coffee, something fresh and healthy to eat, and hang out with other like-minded book lovers, Shakespeare & Co.”

      Please note they say nothing about ‘buying’ any books …

      • I did note that. Can’t think of a single time when I cared whether the people at the surrounding tables in a restaurant were book lovers.

        As for the book machine, I sent my book files to a friend and he had them turned into finished books for his own use.

  4. Here’s a video of the Shakespeare store machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oldvfFBK5Nw

    The machine takes about 4 minutes to produce a book, but it can take longer in preparing a complex file or if there is a queue.

  5. There is one constant across all great retailers and that is their unique ability to instill passion among customers to spend time (and money) with them.

    I can’t wait to load my cart with passion on my next trip to Walmart or CostCo.

    And the grocery store? I’ve been rushing in there, grabbing what I need, picking up a PowerBall ticket, and rushing out. Now I may just spend more time loitering around the mellons.

  6. If I ever feel a great passion to spend time in a store, I hope I’m too ga-ga to be ashamed of myself.

  7. The writer of this ad runs an agency/publishing house. Isn’t that kind of like being a public defender/prison warden?

  8. I’d give a couple of teeth and my left foot for a bookshop like this one in Melbourne! We have some nice little independents, but with something like Shakespeare & Co I’d probably never leave.

  9. So, to create the bookshop of the future, we add a cafe and an “Espresso” book machine. The purpose of the latter being to convert a perfectly good computer file into paper.

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of their sales between Books on the one hand and Food/Drinks on the other. I wish the Bookshop concerned, or is that Cafe, well. There is a place for them in what really is a niche market. If you want to see the way of the future just sit in front of your computer (with or without a coffee) and visit Amazon’s site. Of, if you’re in Seattle and crave the physical store experience ….

  10. Al the Great and Powerful

    I like that they had to borrow a name from a much older store in Paris, which needs neither cafe nor EBM to stay in business… I guess they think that’s a sign of classiness. Schmucks.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.