Once upon a time it was simple. If you wanted to buy a book you'd go to a bookstore, if you wanted to buy some music you'd go to a music store, and if you wanted to buy clothes you'd go to a clothing store. But something funny has happened since online shopping came around. Stores are starting to shake up what they sell. We've been noticing the trend for awhile now—last year we talked to a condom company CEO who is pushing his wares in clothing and grocery stores in addition to the expected drug stores—and this weekend the Times caught on to the trend, specifically the publishing industry's push to sell books everywhere they can.

The practice isn't new (clothing stores like Urban Outfitters have been selling gag books for ages) but it is getting increasingly serious. While only Marc Jacobs has dived head first into the book biz (with his Bookmarc store on Bleecker Street), lots of clothing retailers have added books into the mix in a serious way. The Times story focuses mostly on LA-based retailer Kitson, which sold 100,000 books last year, but we've been seeing books at the checkout aisles all over the place from small retail shops to drug stores. In fact, it seems like most stores we enter these days have at least one or two books whispering to us at the checkout line.

And for authors the shift is not a bad thing. For all of the convenience of selling books online, the sheer volume of books available (and the discounts online shopping provides) makes it difficult for small titles to make a splash. A prominent display—anywhere—turns out to be a great way to bring attention to a writer. And anything that helps writers sell books sounds good to us.

We do (half-jokingly) wonder where this mixed-retail madness will end though. Bookstores have already embraced selling media like DVDs and CDs (to their peril: see Borders), so what's next? Is The Strand going to start selling second-hand groceries? Will the New York Public Library start lending clothing?