Bookstores are scaling back on the comfy chairs because they feel too many people are lounging around and not enough people are buying the books. Shelf Awareness pointed out an article in the Baltimore Sun by Rob Hiassen that bookstores are reducing “soft seating” because of “homeless squatters, overly enthusiastic young lovers, food trash left behind.”
Borders has eliminated 30% of the soft seating replacing it with benches and backless stools because they are finding many people are staying for hours but not actually buying books. Some are reading entire books while at the store and then leaving a mess behind.
Barnes & Noble hasn’t reduced the “soft seating” yet because it believes that bodies in the chairs means eventually sales at the register. Mitchell Klipper, COO of Barnes & Noble,says. “Let them read all they want. We encourage them to stay a while. They will show up at the register eventually.”