How can bookstores compete with amazon?

Kinokuniya Book World – Dubai Mall (photo by Time Out Dubai)

Let me start off by stating that I am a learning junky so, naturally, reading is one of my favorite hobbies. But because I’m also a very sociable person, I don’t like libraries. I like to read at the cafe with my headphones on, where I can lose myself in my ideas and pause for people watching or talk to someone.

Consequently, a bookstore feels like a playground to me.

But not just any kind of bookstore. It needs to have a good selection of books that interest me (I browse mostly the business section) but more than that, it needs to be a comfortable place. When all I want is to quickly buy a book, I order from  amazon.

Back when I was living in Europe, Fnac was my place of choice. It has tons of books and a café inside the store. Anyone is allowed to read books as they please – the store’s reading spaces with comfy couches and good lighting invite customers to do so. Readers can even do it while enjoying their coffee and then walk away without buying anything.

When I moved to Dubai I was introduced to a whole new level of NERDY awesomeness that goes by the name of Kinokuniya Book World. It’s a japanese book store so HUGE it could fit 5 Fnacs inside of it. I’m guessing it’s called Book World because it’s the size of the World and the oceans are made of books.

This store is located in the Dubai Mall, which is in my neighborhood… Walking Distance! I’ve spent countless afternoons there, browsing, reading or working on my MacBook while enjoying the beautiful Burj Khalifa view from their Japanese-themed cafe.

This store is no joke: 68.000 sqft! You will find books on everything and anything in there, the same way you would find them in amazon’s warehouse. It beats the crap out of Fnac in terms of book selection.

The problem is, it lacks the customer experience Fnac has been so cleverly providing for more than 50 years. Continue reading “How can bookstores compete with amazon?”

How can bookstores compete with amazon?

How long will Dubai Mall keep its crown?

An observer’s perspective on the challenges faced by the biggest mall in the World

dubai mall

Back in 2008, I wrote an article about the biggest mall in the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon’s Dolce Vita Tejo, stealing the title from its previous holder, Colombo Shopping, also in Lisbon.

At the time, I was working at Sonae Sierra, owner of Colombo. I remember everyone at the office talking about Dolce Vita opening just a mere 6km away from our champion performer, so I rushed to check it out and dismissed any worries.

Although Dolce Vita had a lot going on for it, including a well-balanced retail mix with a few new store concepts, the location itself was a disaster – in the middle of nowhere except for the poorest neighborhoods in the city.  Plus, its marketing concept was about being the “biggest”, while Colombo was “the place of everything”, a much better strategy.

I went on to work in different fields but I’ve kept an eye on the Shopping Center Industry. Now, having moved to Dubai, it’s nearly impossible not to. Especially when you live Downtown, across from Dubai Mall, the World’s biggest shopping center (at least for now!).

It feels like a déjà-vu: last year Dubai announced plans to build the biggest shopping center, again! The appropriately named Mall of the World (MoW) is going to be located very near the current size champion.

What does this mean for Dubai Mall?
Continue reading “How long will Dubai Mall keep its crown?”

How long will Dubai Mall keep its crown?