Indigo asks, “Would you like some books with your wine?”

The newest location of Canada’s largest bookstore is set to offer a lot more than books. 

Driving the news: Indigo’s new 16,000-square-foot store, opening in downtown Toronto this fall, aims to be “a cultural emporium” inspired by the hip shops you’ll find lining Tokyo streets, featuring more products, immersive displays, events, and booze (nice). Picture this: 

  • A blue food truck by the entrance selling pastries, coffee, beer, and wine.

  • Specific sections dedicated to home fragrances, plants, and vinyl records. 

Why it’s happening: Indigo has grown over the years from a bookstore where you could also pick up a throw pillow into a lifestyle mega-mart where you can buy vitaminshot saucesex toys, a breadmaker and maybe, if there’s room in your bag, Prince Harry’s memoir.

  • The company transitioned into a “cultural department store” in the 2010s when e-books started to slow its print biz. Today, books account for just 55% of sales.

Why it matters: As consumers cut retail spending but still shell out for experiences, retailers are trying to turn the act of shopping itself into more of an experience to capture your dollar. By luring shoppers back to stores, Indigo is also trying to rebound from a tumultuous year. 

Bottom line: Some bookworms feel that Indigo is straying too far from its original purpose, but CEO Steven Ruiz said the store will “never, absolutely never” stop selling books.—QH