Saturday, September 03, 2005


Dear Author: I Just About Died When I Read Your Latest Book

Authors! Looking for a captive reading audience? How about people with IVs in their arms?

Indigo began experimenting with the concept in June with the opening of an Indigospirit store in Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. Two months into the trial, the company is now seeking additional sites. "We wanted to test it. But we are in the process right now of talking with other hospitals," Ms. Reisman told Indigo's annual meeting. "This is a concept meant for captive markets. We'll go slowly but we think it has real potential."

The past three years have seen Indigo close stores and cut costs while rebranding itself as more than just a purveyor of paperbacks. The company has bolstered its selection of giftware, added cookware and dubbed itself a "cultural department store" for book lovers. "There are those who believe it's a dumbing down [of a bookstore]," said Wendy Evans, president of Evans & Co. Consulting Inc., a retail analysis firm.

Funny story about that Indigo chain: back when Banvard's Folly came out, I wondered -- "Say, why no Canadian cities on this book tour list?" So I contacted an Indigo store that shall remain nameless. They responded that they would let me read in their store, but only if we first guaranteed some ad buys.

I told them, "Interesting. Let me call you back on that."

Hope they haven't been waiting by the phone.

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