Barnes & Noble and Borders superstores in the United States redefined the scope of the services bookstores offer. Instead of focusing solely on the moment a customer purchases a book – as the hundreds of bookstores were doing – they asked, what do customers do before, during, and after purchasing a book?
B&N and Borders observed that before purchasing books, buyers often want to sit and leaf through several selections before making a choice. However, traditional bookstores did not offer a place to do so – in fact they discouraged the practice. Also, after purchasing books or magazines, many customers went to a coffee shop to spend some time alone reading.
With these insights they added lounges, knowledgeable staff, and coffee bars to create an environment that celebrates reading, expanding the product offering from the book itself into the pleasure of reading and intellectual exploration.
In less than six years, B&N and Borders emerged as the two largest bookstore chains in the United States, with more than one thousand three hundred superstores between them.
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