As we enter, notice how every wall is floor-to-ceiling glass, and how high the ceilings are. Don't you think the skylights and daylight lamps give the whole store a bright and airy appearance? Everything looks clean and fresh, and I think Apple inspired the design.
Forgive that jingling of alerts on my smart devices. As soon as the store detects one it downloads a series of information. Let me show you what that consists of, but since you aren't carrying one, help yourself to a loaner ereader from this receptacle. You are welcome to use it anywhere in the store at no cost. Just return it for recharging when you leave. See, now your device is jingling, so let's look at those alerts.
The store uses wifi, LTE, NFC or bluetooth, depending upon how you choose to configure your smart devices. Take a look at my ereader. The store has filled my home screen with a series of notifications. Here's the calendar showing today's events as well as those in the next couple of weeks. Oh, look: That book club and author signing look good but we have half an hour until they start. After the calendar, we have store specials ordered by the categories and genres I like. Then we see a listing of newly available or upcoming books by my favorite authors. Sweet... there's a new novel by Misha Gericke due in 3 days. There, one click and I have it pre-ordered. At the end, we can scroll through this long list of recommendations. Oh, Book 25 of Backworlds by M. Pax came out yesterday and I hadn't realized.
Follow me. See how most of the store consists of clustered armchairs and couches? It's a perfect place to hang out. Let's sit a moment. Take a look at your ereader. We are now on the usual store screen. Looks a lot like Amazon doesn't it? You can search, browse, read, buy, review, anything you would normally do at home. One sec while I order the new Christine Rains paranormal collection. OK, now I want to show you that enticing coffee mug icon at bottom left.
The drinks page: From here we can order specialty coffees, soft drinks, alcohol, anything you like. I like red wine when I'm reading. OK, I ordered us some drinks and a waitress will bring them by in a few moments. Its identified our seats automatically and billed my card. Actually, it's smarter than that. I usually set it up to order my favorite drink the moment I walk in the store and the waitress can use GPS to locate me.
See those hi-res 4K monitors hanging around the store? I love to watch them. That one's running the bestseller lists by genre and that one's showing the hot buys today. Looks like Catherine Stine's new YA fantasy is selling like hotcakes. There's an interview with Cherie Reich on the one above your head, oh and look, there's that really neat trailer for River Fairchild's new fantasy. Awesome. There's a monitor in the arm of your chair if you want to pop it out and tune in to any of the content on the overhead monitors. Or you can bring it up on your smart device of course. Hang on a sec while I tag River's book trailer to read later. Ah, and Bonnie Louwerens book trailer too. On your own device you have access to some other channels. A fun one is to see what your friends are reading. What a surprise, Angela Brown is re-reading the entire Indigo series by Gwen Gardner.
Let's wander over to the bookshelves. Don't worry, the waitress will find us. Yes, there are real books in here. Most stores limit the shelf space to new release hardcovers, current NYT bestsellers and staff picks. Admit it, you can't stop buying physical books can you?
Don't like their selection? No problem, follow me to the back of the store. See these ten machines each the size of a dishwasher? Print-on-demand. You can print anything you like, ebook or not, and it charges your card directly. No shipping of course. Since Julie Flanders is doing a book signing in just 15 minutes now, let me print her latest book. OK, looks like it is number 4 in the print queue. I've got time enough to show you one other thing, come on. Oh, don't worry; the POD machine will notify me when it's done printing.
Many of these seating areas over here are set aside for book discussions. Book clubs can reserve them, no charge, or you can just sit down and start an impromptu discussion about any book or author. Enter the details on the iPad there and the store will advertise it. Just see who joins in. Tons of fun, and I've met a lot of friends that way. Remember the calendar when we walked in? The book club it mentioned is over there. These folks are busy discussing Ellie Garratt's fantastic new sci-fi series. I wish we had time to join in, but see this icon on our ereaders? It's the contact information for this book club, so I'll just ping them and maybe we can sit in on their next discussion.
Talking of pings, looks like my Julie Flanders book is ready on POD machine 7. Yes, here it is, still warm. Isn't that cover magnificent? According to the schedule, Julie is in auditorium three upstairs, starting in 5 minutes. Let's get up there, hear her reading and get this book signed.
I see you grinning. I knew you'd love this bookstore.
by Graeme Ing
(Image is a building in Shenzhen, China, courtesy of RandomWire.com)