The president and chief executive officer of Deseret Book Co. said the company is "aggressively" making books available on Kindle, a digital book reader sold by Amazon.com, and will soon have content ready for the nook, the Barnes & Noble e-reader, and the iPad by Apple.
"The actual physical book business isn't going to go away anytime soon," she told the Deseret News Tuesday. "But the physical book business, by and large, is not a growth business."
Deseret Book is selling new products, in addition to digital books, and executives note that they are in the retail business in addition to the publishing business.
Its new 14,000-square-foot flagship store at 45 W. South Temple, which opens Thursday afternoon for business, features music, fine art, DVDs, sheet music and regional crafts.
The store has limited-edition leatherbound classics, a 32-foot video wall, old-fashioned candies, art, a Lion House Pantry Express that will sell "grab 'n' go" food, custom framing and even an on-site "art concierge" who will assist potential buyers with art acquisitions.
"One of the things about retail is that it needs to be an experience," said Mark H. Willes, president and chief executive officer of Deseret Management Corp. (which also owns the Deseret News), the parent company of Deseret Book.
"Anyone can go online and buy a book, a CD, a DVD," Willes said. "The question is, why would you come into the store? You may think you'll go into Deseret Book to buy Fablehaven 5 (published by Deseret Book imprint Shadow Mountain). But whenever you do that, you tend to browse. You're going to see things in this store you can't find anywhere else, including online."
The mission of Deseret Book is to provide books for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although not all its books are religious and not all its customers are LDS.
The store will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a grand opening planned April 2-10 that will feature author signings and product giveaways. Customers can access underground parking on South Temple, west of the store.
Deseret Book timeline:
1886: George Q. Cannon & Sons, the forerunner of Deseret Book, opens for business at 44 E. South Temple. Its first product is the Juvenile Instructor magazine.
1898: Store relocates to 13 S. Main.
1900: George Q. Cannon & Sons sells its publishing and bookselling business to the Deseret News, and the Juvenile Instructor was taken over by the Deseret Sunday School Union.
1919: The Deseret News and Deseret Sunday School Union bookstores consolidate, resulting in the formation of the Deseret Book Co.
1932: Deseret Book Co. incorporates as a Utah corporation and becomes a tax-paying, profit-oriented business.
1959: First branch store opens on Washington Boulevard in Ogden.
1976: Grand opening of the new Deseret Book store at 44 E. South Temple (as part of the ZCMI Center).
1990: Downtown Salt Lake store moves inside the ZCMI Center Mall.
2007: Deseret Book corporate offices relocate to newly refurbished building at 57 W. South Temple.
2010: New Deseret Book flagship store opens at 45 W. South Temple.
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