Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Flagship Stores

Currently, there are flagship stores of two bookstores are located in Serendra, Fort Bonifacio: Fully Booked and A Different Bookstore. The former is easily the most luxurious and largest (perhaps only second in size to National Bookstore's flagship store in Cubao) of all bookstores and sports not only an in-house coffee shop/cafe (Starbucks) but has an actual area where you could hold a conference. The latter, on the other hand, has several amenities such as a cafe and a lounge.

In certain ways, flagship stores are the capital of their respective bookstores. They should be the best of all their shops and stock the most books. In the case of Fully Booked and A Different Bookstore, their flagship store should be where their target market is, and it's evidently in out-of-the-way, metropolitan Serendra. Of courses not so long ago, Powerbooks's flagship store, with three floors and an in-house cafe, was located in PB Arnaiz, Makati (close to the Fort but not so out-of-the-way). Powerbook's flagship store is now gone though and I don't know which of its branches has taken the mantle. But the location of all three bookstores would seem to suggest that those who purchase brand-new books are the AB class.

Of course National Bookstore's flagship shop is all the way in Cubao and a sharp contrast to the other flagship bookstore branches with couches and lounges. Rather than luxurious, it's more utilitarian with endless shelves of books, some looking spanking new, others that could pass for secondhand books. Yet National Bookstore's flagship store has weathered through the decades and is perhaps the symbol of the bookstore chain's dominance. It might not look luxurious or brand-new but it's certainly serviceable and apparently thriving.

As a bibliophile, that's what I want to ask readers. What do you expect from a flagship bookstore? Does it need to have a cafe? Comfortable couches? Or will National Bookstore's utilitarian appeal be enough for you--it might not have the best ambiance but it certainly delivers in terms of goods and prices.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Since I've always lived in next door to the NBS Flagship Store, I'd say the utilitarian look goes well for me.

However, from time to time, I get a hankering for the "library" feel... bolstered by stories of friends who visited US bookstores. This is where Powerbooks comes in.

In the end, I'd say, it all boils down to who your target market is. NBS carries a wide-range of books, and is more often visited for school and study-related book needs. Powerbooks, on the other hand, serves those who are, or are trying to be, reading enthusiasts. As such, they will need to cater more to the needs of such type of people (like the lounges).

In fairness to NBC Cubao though, prior to their massive renovation last year, they did have a small cafe where you can buy coffee and sandiwches and chat with some friends, and a special section set aside for some scary looking big and serious books that I've forgotten the genre of. (I think memories of my college days in the library have triggered my brain to forget it. XD )

That's good enough for the CD set, I think.