Ok, so I had a little fun about Chapters transition away from books to general merchandise, last week with The Bookstore satire. But I did visit the Whyte Avenue store on the weekend, out of general curiosity and to scope out the going price for kid's books, to see how Nathan's Adventure in the Other-Other Land compares.
Kids' print books seemed to be going in for about ten to fifteen bucks, though there was a lot of variability. I would say that well over half of the kids' section of the store was taken up by toys, rather than books. So, clearly, Chapters is pivoting away from books as far as the children's section is concerned. It is hard to say where that will stop.
The soft cover versions of Harry Potter that we purchased were $12.50 each, if memory serves. We had the last two books in print form, so we wanted to get the remaining ones. Normally, I would go for e-books, but I found the Pottermore site was just too irritating to bother with, so we picked up the paper books. It seemed funny to have to go to the Children's section for them - at some level I just don't see them as kids' books any more. I guess they are now in the same mental category as Alice in Wonderland now - much more than entertainments for children
I also found all of the items that I mentioned in the satire - pillows, blankets, scented candles, monopoly games, chess sets and maps. I forgot to ask about compasses, though. And as noted above, there still were books, including at least one shelf for local authors. I didn't have a chance to note if any of those were Indie or self-published, though.
As far as service was concerned, we were quickly helped by at least 3 different clerks. That was nice in its way, though it also made browsing a bit difficult. But it shows that they are trying to engage the customer at a personal level, which is presumably a value added that they can provide over on-line bookstores like Amazon.