The bookstore from the inside: La Increíble
La Increíble: a bookstore, refuge, and adventure for those who love literature and search for hidden treasures.
La Increíble is a small bookstore located in La Condesa, Mexico City, that goes beyond the traditional publications to which one is accustomed. Among its wide repertoire, you can find exclusive editions, art books that revisit pre-Hispanic imagery, classics that have always accompanied us, and more. La Increíble is a project that recognizes the challenges of the literary world and those of the current reading scene, for that very reason that they have focused on renewing themselves and continuing to captivate the attention of a clientele that quickly becomes a community.
I would like to know a little more about the history surrounding La Increíble, how the idea of creating this bookstore come about, and what was the vision behind this initiative?
La Increíble was born out of a deep desire to provide a haven for readers looking for a different kind of literary and cultural experience. To challenge perspectives and ignite the intellect. Mass-market bookstores often didn’t have the hidden literary gems so we set out to create a space where discerning readers could find books with more content and exclusive editions, books that inspire introspection and reflection.
«The decline in reading habits among the general population presents its own set of challenges.»
I understand you are an independent bookstore, correct me if not, but in order to give more visibility to small publishing imprints, those that are not affiliated with large publishing houses, what are the criteria – or process – that you follow to choose the books and materials that you will distribute?
We are in effect an independent bookstore, we have a team with a lot of experience in the book and culture market, and they make a careful selection of books, promoting small publishers that normally do not find the opportunity of space to disseminate their works as well as directly to the authors who are looking for a place to make their creations known. Additionally, we prioritize thought-provoking literature of various genres, with a focus on classics and lesser-known treasures that often go unnoticed by the general market.
«Personalized recommendations, author events, and collaborations with local organizations have helped us build strong relationships.»
Given the competition and perhaps the discouraging statistics of the Mexican reading landscape, what have been some of the challenges you have faced in order to continue to maintain a good position in the market?
It has not been easy to survive in the book market, since after the pandemic the number of bookstores has contracted, and the larger players that dominate the book market since have more resources and reach, making it difficult for smaller independent bookstores like ours to compete on a level playing field.
In addition, the decline in reading habits among the general population presents its own set of challenges. In an era of fast-paced digital consumption, capturing the attention and interest of readers requires a delicate balance between innovation and staying true to our core values. We strive to adapt to changing trends while retaining the essence of the written word.
To overcome these challenges, we have focused on cultivating a loyal customer base that values the unique experience we offer. By choosing a unique selection of books that cater to specific interests and presenting them in a welcoming environment we have succeeded in fostering a sense of community among our readers. Personalized recommendations, author events, and collaborations with local organizations have helped us build strong relationships that extend beyond mere transactions.
We organize unique events such as themed book clubs, literary festivals, and collaborations with local artists with whom we design products such as prints, bags, notebooks, etc. We jointly push these collections and make each other known in the art market. By continually exploring new avenues and forging partnerships, we keep our offerings fresh and captivating.
From what I’ve seen, La Increíble has a café area, which I venture to say is an added value to the experience, but how did the pandemic affect your business, what did you do to adapt to the new normal, which undoubtedly affected every industry, including bookstores?
The pandemic is a before and after in the book market. Before this, we had an expansion plan that had to be put on hold and focus on trying to survive as a bookstore.
While we face challenges, the continued support and enthusiasm of our loyal customers have been our greatest strength. The community understands the value of independent bookstores and appreciates the personal touch we bring to their reading journeys. By staying true to our vision, fostering community engagement, embracing technology to observe sales and inventory behaviors, and consistently offering a curated selection we have carved a niche for ourselves in the marketplace.
In essence, it is our passion for literature, our commitment to personalized service, and our unwavering belief in the transformative power of books that has allowed us to overcome these challenges and maintain a strong position in the marketplace.