Catering to Your Niche Customers: Bookworms

It’s kind of intuitive at this point to expect writers and freelancers to populate the tables at your coffee shop; the modern coffee shop has become the office for the office-less worker, after all. And then, of course, there are the bookstores (you know, that big chain named for noblemen and barnyards–10 points if you get that joke, and apologies either way) with their built in coffee shops that invite customers to sip a caffeinated beverage while they peruse a book they probably won’t buy.

Those chain bookstores are evidence that readers want a place to sit, read and stimulate their mind (with descriptions of other worlds in addition to three or four shots of espresso). Just because there isn’t a bookstore attached to your coffee shop does not mean that you can’t attract readers.

With the setup of your shop, you could consider comfortable seating options if you’re looking to attract bookworms. You also need decent light, so that your readers don’t feel the eye-strain that discourages from doing that reading.

To attract a literary set, you could include literary references on your menu, with item names reflecting classical characters or authors or settings. This will send the message to readers looking for a reading spot that their kind of people work and run your shop. It will also inspire those customers who may not have previously wanted to hang out and read–the longer they hang out the more likely they are to buy more products and come back again.

One solid strategy for attracting these customers is to provide books yourself. You can have a bookshelf or small library open to your readers, either with systemized borrowing or on the honor system. You could attract and advertise this collection by offering a free or reduced beverage or pastry if someone donates a book.

You can host events like book signings (which we have another blog about on this site) that will get those dedicated fans of literature into your space and associated in their mind with their favorite author or series. You could also set up book clubs with your staff, advertising to your customers through email, in-store flyers or social media posts. Having this monthly session, with perhaps free pastries for the group and an espresso bar open late would inspire further attendance by book club members and positive associations with your space. You could also reach out to local established book clubs or through apps like meetup to offer your space for their meetings. You can choose what sort of setup this would be, but just staying open an hour longer for them, or offering a free pastry to members of their group would be enough to entice them. You could come up with custom, temporary beverages based on the book of the month, advertising the book connection to other customers and enhancing the positive feelings of the club members.

For book clubs, also, you’ll want to have communal spaces that they can easily gather in, like a round of couches and armchairs, communal tables, or a secluded section of the store. This way, they could potentially hold their club meeting during regular hours or you could accommodate them along with non-book-club customers at the same time!
To accommodate readers, finally, you want to be aware of the noise of your space. Low-ish lighting inspires quieted conversation which is optimal for readers. If you have music playing, it shouldn’t be distracting but it also shouldn’t be unstimulating (so that your readers don’t end up snoozing on their books like pillows).

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25 Comments

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  1. I think it is a good idea to have comfortable seating options if you’re coffee shop is looking to attract bookworms. I also think having decent lighting is easier on the eyes, thus making it easier to read.

    Offering free pastries to book members is also a great idea. Thanks for the info.

  2. Agree! Setup a mini library on your shops. Update book selection if necessary. Though some guest wont spend too much time to read books or not a bookwork you may also offer newspapers and magazines for this kind of guest. And oh! you may also offer some free ebook download on a certain date to attrack more book worms to stay on your shop. Isnt that a great idea?

  3. Wow… interesting! I agree that bookworms like me would like to stay in coffee shops for reading books… they just need a peaceful environment and a cup of coffee… and I would say its a great blog again… thanks a lot for sharing!

  4. I remember commenting on your blog about my desire to find a perfect coffee shop where I can relax, with no distracting noise and with an environment which is just ideal for a person like me that loves to surf the net and do my reports. Well, I want to share with you guys that I have found one! I am so excited to share this with you and how I wish I can post the picture of the place. The interior design is so unique, and the lighting is excellent! I believe many bookworms will love it, too! And guess what also caught my attention? The coffee cup. It’s not the usual cup that you can find in the coffee shops. Again, how I wish I can share the picture here. Well, that’s all for now. For my next adventure with that coffee shop, I’ll keep you updated guys!

  5. As a bookwarm, I would love to find a calm coffee shop with decent lighting, relaxing music and a mini library would be great too. hosting events is such a great idea too, especially book signings, it’s a pleasure for me to attend those events.

    • It seems like these quiet reading nooks are going the way of the Dodo in today’s modern fast-paced society. I keep seeing Starbucks, and other coffee shops build their dining room set up to reflect a turn and burn ethic which promotes this idea that their patrons should come in for a nice hot or cold cup of coffee, buy something to eat and then get out – because we have people who need to come in and buy coffee and get something to eat. I used to like picking up a book in a Borders Bookstore, or now even a Barnes & Noble, and reading for a couple hours while sipping on something hot. Curling up in a book nook is essential for every reader, I think. So, I agree with you Michael. We need more of these places to read.

      • I agree. It seems nowadays you cant find any businesses that encourage their customers to come in and stay for any period of time. They seem very focused on bringing in as many customers as possible to make the biggest possible profit, and little else.

  6. There is a cafe here in my city called “the library” which has many many books from which people can choose and read. Its perfect for reading since its peaceful and quiet, and has a private atmosphere.
    Also, having a lot of books adds to the interior design of the coffee shop. It looks good, and anyone can grab a book an read if they want to. 🙂

  7. Being a bookworm myself I love those coffee shops who look like fancy libraries where you can sip your favourite coffee and read your book in piece. They just make me so happy. (*-*)//
    There is a coffee shop like that in my city, where walls are covered with books and you feel like you are a part of some different world. I believe that every bookworm searches for a place like that, where he can come back again and again. I know I do. 😀

  8. I’m a huge bookworm and I wish there were more places like this in my area. The only bookshop/coffee shop that I’ve been to is Barnes and Noble, which is an hour away from my town. I have heard of a few shops that specifically focus on the literary crowd. I would love to go to one someday. The one that I really want to go to is Harry Potter themed, and it’s named after one of the pubs in the books. They also serve butterbeer lattes, firewhiskey, and more recipes mentioned in the books. I think that those kinds of places would flourish in the tourist market, but I’m not sure how well they would do in a smaller town with the only customers being locals.

  9. There’s this one cafe in my area that has a bookshelf for a wall. The strangest thing is that we weren’t supposed to touch or read any of the books. Apparently, it was all for the aesthetics, lol!

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