Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fetch...The Comfy Chair!

Or not, if the Baltimore Sun is to be believed.

According to yesterday's story, "Hard facts oust soft chairs," Borders bookstores have cut their comfortable seating by 30%. The Barnes & Noble at the Power Plant at Baltimore's Inner Harbor is phasing out its cozy chairs because homeless people and amorous couples were taking advantage of the free horizontal surfaces.

There seems to be no agreement at the top levels of book chains as to whether providing a homey atmosphere encourages or discourages buying.

I tend to make book-buying decisions on the spot--I read the back cover copy, maybe glance at a page or two of prose inside to see if I like the author's style, then head for the cash register or coffee shop (usually in that order, because I'm a spiller).

What about you? Are you more or less likely to buy books if you have fifteen (or fifty) minutes to browse through them in the gentle arms of a Barcalounger? And what would Cardinal Ximinez think?

A-Z Update: "Riverdance - Remix" by Bill Whelan



Ximinez' reaction would depend on one thing: whether or not there would be a similar reduction in the availability of soft cushions, and the store owners' fanatical devotion to the Pope. Two things!

Posted by: Blogger Dave S. at 7/26/2007 12:05 PM

Who makes out in a Borders? This must be in big cities because I've never seen a homeless person in Borders or a "amorous couple". Wouldn't the store workers notice and ask them to leave? I know I would rather ask them to leave then to put up sneeze guards on the books near the chairs. I would direct the young couples to the nearest movie theater. Maybe give the chairs a timer and after a certain amount of time Pop Goes Perfection!

Posted by: Blogger selkiewriter at 7/26/2007 12:20 PM

To be honest, I make most of my purchases on so I get to browse through comments other readers have made before I buy them.

When in a bookstore, however, (which is not such an uncommon occurrence, I assure you) I do tend to take the "read the back cover and take a chance" route. I don't have hours to sit around in a store, nor would I want to. That's just me :)

When I picked up "Eyes of Crow", for instance, the cover art caught my eye. I know, I know-- it's horrible to judge a book by its cover but it was incredibly captivating. I read the back cover and popped it on the counter to be rung up. I had the exact same experience with another of my favorite authors, Charles de Lint. I'm very grateful for these 'happy accidents' but I do admit to 'researching' before I buy :)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 7/26/2007 5:15 PM

Depends. Some times it's a grab and pay, other times I settle down for a look--usually with non-fiction books, esp. if I have several on the same subject to choose from.

But after 3 years of only being able to buy English-language books online, I can't WAIT to get to London next month, go to Borders and sink into some of the chairs there, ENGULFED in books. Really, bring tears to the eyes.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 7/27/2007 3:46 AM

I forgot about non-fiction books. I tend to browse them quite a bit. I'm often disappointed when I buy non-fiction online, so now I'll usually only buy it online if the reviews are unanimously excellent.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/27/2007 8:20 AM

Grab 'n' pay. I sit around in Borders or B&N in the children's section while the kids poke around, or maybe if I've bought a cup of coffee. I never sit down with a book and read it before purchasing. I'm Mr. Impulse Buy.

Posted by: Blogger Andrew at 7/27/2007 11:10 AM

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