This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

February 1, 2023

The Future of Independent Bookstores

For years, small, independent booksellers have struggled to hold their own against the big chains. However, I have encountered a bookstore that is a harbinger of what it will take to succeed into the future. With its own podcast studio, this neighborhood bookseller is a magnet for the community, as well as a source for the latest published tomes. Baldwin & Co. in New Orleans, Louisiana, named after the author James Baldwin, is a prime example of what independent bookstores can achieve today and into the future. Baldwin & Co. represents the future of independent bookstores in several ways:

A Community Focus
Its community focus is one of the many things that sets Baldwin & Co. apart from other bookstores. The store regularly hosts book clubs, author signings, and workshops that bring together local writers, artists, and readers, building community and fostering a sense of belonging. Baldwin & Co. also collaborates with local organizations to support literacy initiatives and promote reading in the community, creating a vibrant hub for literary culture in The Big Easy, a nickname given to New Orleans. Finally, Baldwin & Co. is dedicated to supporting local and independent authors and publishers. The store regularly features works by local writers and promotes books from independent publishers, which helps to support the literary ecosystem in New Orleans and beyond.

A Unique Shopping Experience
Baldwin & Co. also offers a unique shopping experience that sets it apart from other bookstores. The store has a carefully curated selection of books, and its knowledgeable staff is always on hand to help customers find the perfect book for their needs. In addition to offering delicious coffee, tea, and pastries, Baldwin & Co. provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere that encourages customers to linger and browse, making it a destination for book lovers.

Embracing Technology and Innovation
This forward-thinking store has embraced technology and leverages it to reach a wider audience. The store has a strong online presence through its website, which allows customers to purchase books online, and in bulk, and have them delivered to their home or office. Additionally, Baldwin & Co. has a robust social media presence that helps the store connect with customers and promote its events and other offerings.

Podcasting from the Store
Augmenting its social media presence, the store has a podcast studio for rental by the hour. Though renters need to supply their own engineers, the list of equipment for use is impressive. From sophisticated cameras to microphones and mixers, this well-equipped installation offers whatever is needed.

Valuing Diversity
The store strives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all customers, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, including works by authors from underrepresented groups as well.

And a Foundation, Too!
The Baldwin & Co. Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration, improving national literacy rates, and eradicating the root causes of poverty, discrimination, and access to opportunity, which have at their core a history of racism. Through the power of books and reading, they are focused on increasing the ability of people to improve their lives and achieve economic independence.

A Cornerstone of the City's Cultural Landscape
Located just blocks from the edge of The French Quarter, this model for the future is destined to continue to evolve to meet the needs of the local community, by adapting to the changing landscape of retail and prioritizing the needs and interests of its customers. Baldwin & Co. has established itself as a model for independent bookstores to follow.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: The Role of Recession Fatigue
The other day I had the privilege of attending Clicksuasion Labs Client Appreciation Breakfast. There I heard my friend Dr. Michael Barbera, their Founder and Chief Behavioral Officer, talk about Recession Fatigue and how it is affecting consumer markets. At that time, he also touched upon how it is having an impact on the wild and crazy labor market in the United States---and elsewhere. You won't want to miss this opportunity to understand how consumer psychology is affecting the labor market and how that informs what will happen next.


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