As book-buying traffic continues to move online (RIP, Borders), readers have fewer and fewer locations to come into contact with books by authors they may not know. And while e-readers are hot, it's still only about 1/3 (or less, depending on the survey) of people who use them, and about 75% of people say they still prefer dead tree books (I am one of them).
Still, it may come as a surprise to hear that hotels are the latest venue to stock new books. Following the lead of the boutique hotels like The Library in New York City and The Study in New Haven, Connecticut (both of which use books as decor and a library as their overall theme, natch), others have installed book rooms or added books to their lobbies, in order to create more intimate, communal spaces. Interestingly, most of these are business hotels, attempting to lure younger clients, since a book-lined lobby is considered less formal and more inviting, especiallly to millennials.
Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman for the travel, hospitality and leisure groups at Deloitte, told the New York Times, “My general impression is that this ties into changing demographics. Younger travelers want to be part of the community.”
Besides feeling homier and more relaxed, library-like rooms (some with coffee and newspapers too) are still a bit unexpected, which can be an attractive point for any traveler (even if they're not a huge reader), and turn them into a repeat customer. They can also be a boon for the struggling publishing industry and a new venue for writers to reach readers—several publishers have partnered with hotel chains; Random House works with Country Inn and Suites, for example. And bookstores that provide tomes for hotels have seen their sales increase in the last year, as more hotels jump on board, and more readers pick up books.
Seems like a win-win for both readers, authors and booksellers.
If I frequently traveled to a city for business, I would definitely choose the hotel that had a reading room or library space, so I could relax outside my hotel room. Would you?
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