Books vs Food

The presence of a bar or restaurant inside a bookstore can change the entire environment of the store and can make it more welcoming. A bookstore by itself is just a place where people browse for books, possibly buy something, and then leave. However, a bookstore that offers food becomes more than that. The presence of food and tables can change the whole mood of the store. It invites people to stay longer, and to take their time. It becomes a place where people might meet up with their friends, or take a coffee break. For many, food means comfort and relaxation. By offering that experience at a bookstore, it makes the entire store more welcoming and friendly. Even if someone were to enter the store for the sole purpose of purchasing a book, the mere presence of a café in the store provides them with a different experience. There might be more people in the store because they are sitting and drinking coffee, and that in itself provides a more relaxed environment to shop in. By offering the option to get food as well as books, it takes some of the pressure away from the consumer. If they cannot find the book they were looking for, they might get a coffee instead, making their trip to the store and their time inside more worthwhile.
On the other hand, if the café or restaurant inside the library is too big or loud, it might provide a more stressful experience. During our visit to each of the libraries, we encountered two different environments. The first was quaint and relaxed, with a few tables in the middle of the store where people were drinking coffee and speaking softly to each other. The second was a large sitting area in the middle of the store, and a counter at the back to order food at. The sitting area was crowded with people who were talking loudly and eating food. This made it more difficult for us to talk to each other, as well as provided a bit more stressful experience. Overall, we think that if done correctly, combining books and food can be a pleasant idea.