#FutureFoyles

Earlier this week, Samantha Rayner, Senior Lecturer in Publishing at University College London, gave a lecture on our Business of Publishing module about the fundamentals of bookselling and particularly focused on the re-invention of bookshop, Foyles.

In partnership with The Bookseller, Foyles has held workshops inviting the public to attend to get their views on what would make the ultimate bookshop. It was only last week that I listened to a podcast on BBC Radio 4’s The Bottom Line show, where Victoria Barnsely, HarperCollins, predicted that bookshops of the future will charge customers to browse (See ‘The cost of browsing’ for more info).  Foyles is to said to be moving to the former St. Martin’s College of Art space in order to recreate its vision.

Miriam Robinson, head of marketing for Foyles, said that she found the workshops ‘inspiring’. In a world where the bricks and mortar book retailers are facing the ever so evasive competition from Amazon and the rise of digital, I believe that reinventing the concept of ‘bookshop’ is a fantastic opportunity. Patrick Neale, Booksellers Association president affirmed that ‘the big thing for Foyles is that the first 30 feet of the shop is giving the customers the best experience they can have’. So, after all the talk of what will become of the ‘future bookshop’, in our lecture we divided into groups and brainstormed our own ideas for #FutureFoyles, some of which made it to my Twitter feed…

I think my favourite idea was to have an experience/exhibition room, where once or twice a month scenes from novels are recreated, so visitors can essentially ‘live the story’. Exhibitions could coincide with historical events such as Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary or the Charles Dickens anniversary which occurred recently. Certainly with bestselling novels such as Life of Pi, The Hunger Games and The Hundred Year Old Man topping the charts, it would be a perfect opportunity to showcase these works outside of the page. Of course, I think it would be brilliant to recreate scenes from less known books aswell, but I think the whole concept of making a story become reality would be a fantastic idea should Foyles adopt this idea of an experience/exhibition room.

Other ideas which I think would be amazing in a bookshop, would be to create the shop more into a cultural space. I think events such as open-mic nights where aspiring writers and poets could showcase their work would be a great way of discovering the undiscovered. Making the bookshop more interactive as a whole with giant iPads and Kindles to interact with other people is also a good idea.

I feel that the #FutureFoyles concept is brilliant! And I definitely cannot wait to see how it looks when the new store opens in 2014…

Publishing Perspectives article

The Bookseller article

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About ambergunn

English Language and Literature graduate and MA Publishing graduate from Anglia Ruskin University. Production Editor at a STM journal publisher in London. Tea lover, bookworm and metaphor appreciator. View all posts by ambergunn

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