Perhaps this is because I never am the one or two demographics that bookstores seem to target. I was quite annoyed a few months ago when my local Barnes & Noble decided to expand their children’s section, add a toys section and increase their teaching section. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for encouraging children to read. However, I don’t think it necessary nor ideal to turn half of a good sized store into a children’s heaven or more accurately, toy store within a book store. There are currently no fewer than three aisles devoted solely to toys. These toys aren’t even educational, but are considered ‘companions’ to a few books. I did some digging out of curiosity and I found that the Monster High Dolls, which took a good 5 feet of shelving, had perhaps a foot worth of assorted Monster High books. Now why would a book store carry exponentially more branded toys than branded books?
The sections which were formerly in the new toy section are books in Spanish, cooking books, exercise, self help, philosophy, multilingual books, religion, hobbies, reference, history, teen, and finally current affairs. As stands, all of these genres are crammed into the other 1/3 of the store with fiction, magazines, romance, mystery and sci fi/ fantasy since the final 1/3 of space is dominated by registers and music/videos. This makes it so that inventory of all genres becomes diminished. It has become a joke to try to actually find a book I would read. This is coming from someone who pre-renovation was spending $30+ weekly after browsing.
Is it any wonder that many booksellers are closing? This gamble they took to bring in new customers isolated the older, more affluent ones.
For me, it’s not about Children’s books vs Adult fiction. I would question the choice to change a store so 1/2 of the square footage catered to one demographic. What do you think?