By Bree Turner
Foyles bookstore opened its newest “physical meets digital” bookstore in Grand Central, Birmingham last week. The 4,300 sq. ft. Foyles is nestled between John Lewis and the White Company in the upper concourse of the new retail development.
John Browne, Finance Director and head of real estate, describes the excitement of opening in the space, “The store here represents our new format of Foyles stores nationally, which we are planning to develop into further locations. The resurgence of books and the lifestyle nature of our business is a blend that we see has a very positive future.”
The store includes 15,000 titles and a variety of digital interactions such as three audio-visual author pods and one children’s story pod, where best-selling writers read their work, digital signs including a floor-to-ceiling display, and booksellers with tablets that allows access to millions of books.
The pods will include Simon Schama, Neil Oliver and a variety of Man Booker Prize shortlisted authors. The children’s pod will have Michael Rosen reading poetry. And a variety of live author talks will take place in-store such as the upcoming talk with Cressida Cowell, author of “How To Train Your Dragon” on October 17th. She will open up the children’s department, which is very important focus for Foyles.
The Foyles store, designed by lustedgreen, keeps with the existing theme of size and style as The Foyles branches in Westfield Stratfod City, London Waterloo Station and Royal Festival Hall. With the opening of this branch, Foyles is up to six stores, four in London, one in Bristol and now Birmingham.
Simon Heafield, Marketing Manager of Foyles, said in a press release that the shop is all-inclusive to library-esque readers and digital lovers alike, “With Foyles Grand Central, Birmingham we’ve embraced the latest digital technology to bring books to life, and author and readers closer together. We have taken the opportunity to enliven the instore experience by showcasing great books in an exciting new way. All of these technologies can be turned on and off and will be used in a sensitive manner. We are aware that many customers think of bookshops as an oasis of calm and these customers will be just as happy in the shop.”