Bookstores May Be Dying, But Fashion Brands Are Giving Them New Life

by MR Magazine Staff

The future of brick-and-mortar bookstores has been in peril for at least a decade. But whether you’re actually shopping for a book or not, you might actually find yourself wandering into a bookstore by accident. Because fashion brands, from French icon Sonia Rykiel to New York City-based Warby Parker, are curating books not as objects to read but as objects of décor. The past 12 months have confirmed that in the age of Amazon Prime shipping, retail real estate is not doing well. That’s why beauty startup Glossier, one of the most buzzy e-commerce companies, opened a concept shop, dubbed an “offline experience,” in November 2017, and Everlane, which pledged to never open a physical store in 2012, just opened a New York City flagship. Brick-and-mortar shops are data troves for brands to gain insight on exactly how customers interact with the products. And a good book will keep a customer in the store for longer. So, it makes sense that books—the original immersive “offline experience”—are the hottest accessories to fashion brands these days. The Sonia Rykiel flagship on the Left Bank of Paris since 1990, just steps away from Les Deux Magots, a café frequented by literary legends like Simone de Beauvoir and Ernest Hemingway, has 50,000 books sitting on ceiling-to-floor shelves, their spines creating stripes reminiscent of Rykiel’s signature pattern. Books as décor has been a feature of the Sonia Rykiel brand since the late designer first set up shop in 1968. There is erotica by the dressing rooms and large, heavy coffee books used as accents. Read more at Quartz.