Pretty On the Outside, Also Known As: And You Thought Indigo Was Bad...

When in NYC I was eager to visit those two bastions of American civilization, Borders and Barnes & Noble. I am all too familiar with our chain, dear Indigo/Chapters, so I decided I needed basis for comparison.

Perhaps I went to the wrong locations but who knew Borders/B&N were so darn crappy? First off, the selection of books was no better than that of an airport store. Second, the interior design was terrible - blood red walls and medium stain wood? Ugh. Granted the above location of Borders was superb but the inside..and let me tell you, I didn't need to take photos of Barnes & Noble, it looked much the same way.

This has made me grateful for the average Indigo location - bearing the standard thrillers and diet books as well as more credible lit, all laid out neatly in airy, white spaces. At first I thought the selection could be blamed on the more mass market tastes of Americans but a quick glimpse at the NYT and G&M bestsellers lists prove that similar types of books are being gobbled up on both sides of the border (Patterson, Roberts, the surprise literary throw-in).

I'm not going to dare to plunge further into this issue but rather leave it at this, for a chain, Indigo's shopping experience beats the American one hands down. This may or may not reflect that fact that Canadians actually care about reading - while forty percent of Americans read one book or less last year, 81 percent of Canadians bought a book and the average number of books read was 17.


Luanne said...

Interesing - I think it may depend on the location. I was in the midwest US and the Borders was not so good but the B&N - could have colsed my eyes and been in Chappies.

Joanne said...

I've had the same experience a few years back, Manhattan and Boston had horrible looking chain stores. Although I did visit one in NJ that was gorgeous.

busy91 said...

The Borders here sucks, so i agree, I usually go to B&N. Which B&N Did you go to? There are some great ones here, but you have to know where they are. There is a decent one in the Citicorp building only a few blocks from the Borders. The best B&Ns are on 86th street and 14th Street Union Square. Next time visit one of those B&Ns.

B.Kienapple said...

You guys are right - there are Chapters that are terrible and those that are better (the Yonge & Bay location, for instance) and so it must be with Borders and B&N.

The Strand on the other hand...was total awesomeness.


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