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Berserker's avatar

Why do they always play classical music in book stores?

Asked by Berserker (33514points) September 12th, 2015

Disclaimer; I have nothing against classical music, in fact, I enjoy it myself.
I also do not criticize book stores in any way.
And third, I am aware that not all book stores play classical music.

However, it is fairly common that this type of music will be played in book stores, at least the ones where new books are sold, as opposed to used book stores.

I once read that in places like malls and grocery stores, they often play music to calm customers down, as apparently, shopping is some stressful business. Seems legit.

But what is it with book stores and classical music in particular? Why that type of music and not another? What do they associate classical music with? Literature? Intellect? What’s the deal here?

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29 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Because the new music is copyrighted. They would have to pay a fee to publicly air new music. The same goes for dentist offices. Classical music is In the public domain and free to play publicly.

msh's avatar

They sell more Historical Romance Smut books. Mood music. I just don’t want to come across any couples acting it out in different sections of the bookstore! They get all dressed in period costumes and all. So noisy! They always take up all the chairs! Yow! ... And Euw!

Pachy's avatar

For the same reason they play raucous music in bars and sports events. It fits the ambience.

filmfann's avatar

It’s music that a lot of people think smart people like.
It makes shoppers feel smart.
It’s unobtrusive.
If I walked into a bookstore, and they had, say, Keith Urban on, I would not spend much time in the shop.

kritiper's avatar

It suits a quiet atmosphere, like a library.

farmer's avatar

For me at least, it’s difficult to read while there is music with lyrics playing in the background. The words on the page compete with the words of the music. Instrumental music isn’t so bad because there isn’t competition for attention between the book and the song in the verbal part of my brain.

Buttonstc's avatar

Because if they played Salsa they’d risk having people dancing in the aisles :)

stanleybmanly's avatar

Book stores, and certain coffee houses. A lot of it has to do with the taste of the management. The old thing about literate types and classical music is more than a stereotype. The great used bookstores are ALWAYS owned and staffed by people invariably as passionate and knowledgeable about music as they are their books. It isn’t always classical music that’s their forte, but more often than not they can tell you precisely what you’re listening to even when it’s coming from a radio. I yearn for the days when this town was just packed with truly wonderful bookstores just bulging with treasures.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Classical music, for better or worse, has the patina of intellectualism and appreciation for the higher qualities of life.

Books and bookstores want to portray themselves as citadels of knowledge and intellectualism. So they play classical music to paint themselves with that same intellectual brush.

Berserker's avatar

@elbanditoroso Makes sense. But I was looking at comic books anshit.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I don’t encounter anything you say. Our bookstores plays all kinds of music, not classical alone. And classical is a rarity. You have to be very lucky to hear classical in a store. They even play latest music too.

But what they play is also very slow, just like the pace of classical music. So my guess is that the stores don’t necessarily need to appear smart or make people look smart, but just to conform to the general atmosphere of a book place.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Where do you find a bookstore anymore? Ours are all gone.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@talljasperman “Because the new music is copyrighted. They would have to pay a fee to publicly air new music. The same goes for dentist offices. Classical music is In the public domain and free to play publicly.’

Well yes and no. The music itself, as written, is typically in the public domain (though there are modern composers who write in the classical style), but just about any recording you hear has been made within the last several decades and will still be under copyright.

canidmajor's avatar

It is infinitely less distracting than other types of music. There is a filler aspect to it, in that it helps to mask annoying ambient sounds, but without lyrics, there is no competition for word attention. Unless the store is selling the music they are playing, they will stick to familiar classical pieces, to provide less distractions.
When I worked for a marketing group that studied these things, we found that sales increased dramatically if familiar, medium-to-low-tempo classical played in the background.

Used book stores tend to have different motivations for their sound strategies than regular retail.

Berserker's avatar

@canidmajor What kind of strategies are used in used book stores? I guess that must vary a lot since most of them aren’t chain businesses. Like @stanleybmanly, tuere are no used book stores in my town. There was one years ago, but I haven’t been in one forever.

canidmajor's avatar

I don’t know about used book stores (sorry) because they are entirely different kinds of businesses. The majority of them (small, with non-collectible titles) are stocked with no cash-cost inventory; donations for credit slips. Some of the larger ones will pay cash for some volumes, then you step up into the Collectible class of store, where they go for a more elite kind of clientele.
The Internet has revolutionized the used book business. Not as much fun as it used to be, but certainly more efficient.

Berserker's avatar

I guess that’s why used book stores are all dead. Shame. I like physical books. And you never know what you’ll find in used book stores. There was a huge one in Winnipeg that always had so much cool shit.

canidmajor's avatar

Unless you live in a teeny tiny town, used book stores are starting to come back. Not the big “interesting” ones so much, but the little strip mall types. There’s treasures to be found in those! Maybe not collectibles, but odd sets and series, because someone’s mom got rid of her adult child-moved-out-ten-years-ago collection of cool sci-fi or mass market editions of Sherlock Holmes. To save space, I mostly read virtual books now, but not everything is in eformat, so it’s cool to find stuff in an odd little store.
I’ve even found some treasures in the Goodwill book section.

Berserker's avatar

Unless you live in a teeny tiny town


But we do have a goodwill place, and yes indeed, I’ve found quite a few good books in it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Often when we’re out shopping the wife will want to stop by the Goodwill. I always head straight for the book section and have found a few gems there. Lately, however, it seems that they’re (at least the local one here) are filtering the books they put out for sale, because pretty much all I can find there anymore are religious and housekeeping type books.

Berserker's avatar

Yeah, I always head to the books section too. The majority of the books they have there are romance novels, but there are so many books I always leave with at least two. And it costs next to fuckall.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

How many decimal points in a fuckall?

Berserker's avatar

Minus point seven nutsacks.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Oh god, LMAO. So I guess I could get one and still have three tenths of a nutsack left. Lucky I didn’t have something in my mouth then.

Berserker's avatar

I played this game called Lollipop Chainsaw once. You’re a cheerleader who kills zombies with a chainsaw. In the end of the game, her dad shows up to help her fight zombies, and he ends up losing one testicle. Then when it is suggested that he should go to the hospital, he goes, nah, I’ll just patch it up when we get home. You only need one, anyway. lol

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Symbeline There was this guy with three testicles. Every time a woman touched him, she’d recoil in horror. He went to the doctor to see about getting one removed. The doctor examined and then told him that operation would be too risky. He leaves and calls for a cab. The cabbie notices how down the guy is and ask what’s wrong. The guy says well between us we have five testicles. The cabbie looks in the mirror at the guy and says, what you only have one?

Berserker's avatar

Lol quadruple nutsack.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Symbeline I guess that’d be a four banger. Not sure if a V-6 would fit in there.

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