November 12, 2015
New “experimental” bookstore for Millennials to open in London
by Ena Brdjanovic
U.K. tech entrepreneurs Rohan Silva and Sam Aldenton are opening a bookstore on Hanbury Street in London, reports The Bookseller’s Lisa Campbell. The founders of Second Home, a “utopian workspace” for startups such as Foursquare and TaskRabbit, are disrupting an old industry by joining it—their new venture is a real-life, brick-and-mortar bookstore that will house between 5,000 and 6,000 titles.
In an interview with Campbell, Silva touted a recent resurgence of the physical over the digital: “If you look at many companies which started off as websites, such as Moo.com, they are starting to open physical spaces.” (MobyLives can, of course, think of another good example of an online retailer manifesting into a physical shop.)
Silva went even further in a recent op-ed for London’s Evening Standard. Discussing how the real world is “fighting back” against the prevalence of software, Silva writes that in “an age where we can tap a button and access just about any information or content on demand, there’s a countervailing desire for the experimental and the one-off.” He goes on to argue that “we increasingly crave places where we can escape from the incessant chatter and distraction of technology. This isn’t about being a Luddite—it’s a recognition that being constantly plugged in isn’t all that good for us.”
Campbell reports that the new bookstore is a bit more “experimental” than a Barnes & Noble, though: it’s being designed with Millennials in mind. The 830 square-foot store will lure them with tried-and-true bait: free drinks and a DJ booth. A job posting on The Bookseller sought a general manager who could “help create an interdisciplinary space that crosses books with booze and an in-house printing operation and DJ sets.”
The yet-to-be-named bookstore is set to start crossing books with booze in early December. We’ll be sure to send our Millennial in London (perhaps she prefers “Managing Director”) to check it out.
Ena Brdjanovic is Director of Digital Media at Melville House.