Ann Arbor , Mich. Borders Group Inc. unveiled a new look for its stores that brings more of the digital world into bricks-and-mortar bookstore retailing. The 28,900-sq.-ft. concept store, located in Ann Arbor, Mich., is the first of 14 such locations the company expects to open nationwide this year.
“Overall, this new concept store is a key part of our long-term strategic plan,” said Borders chief executive George Jones said. “We set out to differentiate Borders and give customers a reason to choose us over other retailers and we've achieved that goal spectacularly with this new concept store.
The format combines Borders’ signature deep selection, knowledgeable staff and a comfortable atmosphere with new interactive features. Among these is a "Digital Center” featuring multiple computer kiosks and stations dedicated to such services as music and book downloading, as well as mixing and making custom CDs. It also contains a kiosk where customers can research their family history.
Other store highlights include themed book islands built around lifestyle genres, including travel, cooking and health. The sections incorporate an array of digital media, as well as an expanded section of books from the respective genre.
Borders Ann Arbor is the first retail location in the nation to feature a new technology called LongPen. The technology makes it possible for Borders to offer in-store customers book and CD signings by authors and performers who may be at home or in another location. It is made possible using an electronic signing implement.