Barnes & Noble is stealing the indie shop playbook, and it’s working (

If you’re strolling down the Marylebone High Street in London, you’ll stumble across a popular bookstore called Daunt Books. Inside, sunlight pours through stained glass windows, dappling rows of books organized by country, rather than theme, to appeal to armchair travelers who want to explore the world through reading. “It’s how I like to read, personally,” says James Daunt, who opened the bookstore in 1990 when he was in his twenties. “But it muddles the books because you abandon traditional subject categories.”

Daunt acknowledges that his approach to bookselling is unusual, and perhaps a little risky. But it’s been a hit. He went on to open five other Daunt Book locations across London, which have thrived over the past 33 years, even as Amazon has grown explosively, putting many bookstores out of business.
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