Stephen T. Gordon, writing in the Boston Globe, says everything will be a coffee shop in the future. Universities will become coffee shops. Bookstores will become coffee shops. Most retail shops will become coffee shops. Offices becomes coffee shops… again. And he also lists what doesn’t become a coffee shop. Read the whole thing. Here’s a sample:
Bookstores Will Become Coffee Shops
E-books are coming of age — for many reasons. You can keep your personal library and your bookstore in your pocket. You can annotate and share your e-book notes within social networks. Writers can publish more directly to their audience. Once completed, the unit cost for each e-book sold is essentially $0. Those savings can be (and sometimes are) passed on to the customer. Nothing ever goes out of print, because there are no print runs. And an e-book doesn’t have to be limited to the written word: It can incorporate video, audio, and other methods of presentation.
Compare that with your local Barnes & Noble. Those stores are huge, but they can accommodate only a small fraction of the titles available in, for example, the Kindle e-book store. They require expensive real estate, buildings, and employees.
One practical innovation: Bookstores are starting to feature print-on-demand technology, like the Espresso Book Machine, which can print a book within minutes. But there’s no need for a huge store for that. Copies of bestsellers could be kept on a few shelves — everything else would be available for print.
What do bookstores offer that online doesn’t? Well, a space to gather, comfortable chairs, readings and other events, community, and people to recommend books to you in person. Increasingly, they also feature cafes. Between e-books and print-on-demand, the huge big-box bookstores will eventually shrink to fill just those needs — a coffee shop with a few shelves, a few printers, and an author signing books over in the corner.