The other weekend, I stopped by the local mall for the first time in well over a year, and I noticed a few surprising changes. For one, it was past lunch hour, yet the food court was still packed - and not everyone was eating. Many were simply using the space as a place to hang out.
Another thing that surprised me was that the mall still had a Barnes & Noble, although it had very little foot traffic, especially for a weekend. Inside, half the store appeared to be your typical Barnes & Noble that I remembered - books and magazines; but the other half of the store was dedicated to toys, games, and gifts.
I realized that what’s happening at the mall as well as Barnes & Noble mirrors what’s happening with many campus bookstores at colleges and universities. Call me Captain Obvious, but it’s pretty apparent that both the mall and campus bookstore need to evolve in order to survive - becoming more of a multi-purpose destination to not just shop, but to meet, eat, and socialize.