WATCH: An Iconic Miami Book Business Finds A Way To Grow In The Age Of Amazon

In the cutthroat world of book retailers, there are many brands that compete with each other to win consumers over.

Outlets like Barnes & Noble offer deals and memberships in order to incentivize book enthusiasts to sign up and buy their products.

Books & Books is among them, but with its mission of providing avid readers top quality books and creating a community of readers.

It began as a dream that flourished into a reality.

“It started in 1982, I started it, I had been teaching [in high school for a few years] and I had always wanted to be in the book business,” Mitchell Kaplan, owner and founder of Books and Books said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “It had started in Coral Gables, in a small space in about 500 square feet, and that’s how it came about.”

In this era of Amazon dominance, Books & Books has carved out a unique model in order to grow.

It offers memberships that ensure discounts on all purchases and a community feel at the various locations.

Its mission is to attract the most loyal readers in the book community.

“I think from the beginning, we decided that really what we were all about was to provide a community gathering place,” Kaplan said when discussing Books & Books’ mission of creating a community for readers to join. “I don’t think it so much differentiates us [from other booksellers like it did years ago], but it did then. And we also decided to have lots of book events, so we have a lot of authors coming in right from the beginning when we opened the bookshop.”

Holding book events is one way that Books & Books tries to keep its customer base from diminishing.

It is also a co-founder of the Miami Book Fair and is heavily involved with it.

Another advantage is Books & Books’ multitude of locations across South Florida, saving it from being limited to only Coral Gables.

“And the other thing that differentiates us a little bit is that we have more than one location,” explained Kaplan. “We now have now six or seven different locations in South Florida and abroad. And the other thing is that each one of our stores is very distinct and unusual from one another.”

Staff dedicated to providing top quality service to shoppers also maintains each Books & Books location.

Although every Books & Books store is unique in structure, they all share the same services nonetheless, such as a café at every store.

This helps if customers wish to sit down and have a nice meal.

But while Books & Books is on a steady roll with its success, one can only wonder on how it is able to be successful in the book market with different competitors trying to win customers over.

One such competitor would be Amazon, which has recently started opening bookstores in certain locations around the US.

Each store sells books while also providing Amazon-related products on display as well.

However, Kaplan does not believe believe that his business is doomed.

“Well, Amazon has been operating now for over 20 years and of course [they’ve been very successful],” Kaplan said. “So I don’t think it’s going to have that much of a greater effect.”

Books & Books is not even slightly worried about the creation of Amazon brick and mortar stores.

“We’ve already been affected by Amazon, so the decision to open bookstores probably won’t make that much of a difference,” said Kaplan.

Books & Books is the ideal place for those looking to find the next big book to read while also being with a community full of ardent readers.

Its mission is one that celebrates literature and helping those who are fond of the medium to gather and share their literary interests.

“I would say ‘come on in and take a look,’” Kaplan said. “If you’re a book lover you’ll be very surprised.”


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About the Author
Brian Martin is a student of Lynn University entering his senior year of college. He is majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in social media. He hopes to one day work for IGN in Los Angeles.
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