Took this photo at Starbucks yesterday (Southboro, MA). The picture made me happy for two reasons.
First, because none of the books I’ve written were being offered up on the shelf for free (that would really hurt).
Second, because as is their strength, the folks at Starbucks (and when I say “folks,” I frankly don’t know if this is some kind of Starbucks Corporate idea or just the work of a smart store manager) are working at making this store feel like a comfortable place for friends to meet.
Take a book, leave a book. There’s no fee or tracking process or even much of a commitment required. Just the feeling of friends getting together and enjoying each other without a lot of rules.
Total cost to Starbucks: Two feet of shelf space, a piece of cardboard, prime the pump with a dozen miscellaneous paperbacks.
Benefit to Starbucks: Maybe you and your friends will stick around awhile and buy a $2 cup of coffee and a $3.25 scone.
Creating “community” online via social media is great. Creating community offline is brilliant.