Indigo Books & Music, Canada’s largest book retailer, is set to launch a partnership with Apple that could see a popular store-within-a-store concept piloted in Toronto go national.

The Financial Post reports that in order to compete with an overwhelming number of discount book retailers online and overseas, Indigo is looking for new ways to diversify its offering.

As a result, Indigo chief executive Heather Reisman is keen to move away from the traditional ‘big bookstore’ retail space and instead transform each Indigo store into a series of smaller speciality shops.

This could see more than 40 Apple shops set up within Indigo bookstores across the country, as well as Poppin office supplies and a number of other well-known brands. Already, Indigo sells Kobo e-readers in-store in partnership with the digital brand.

“We are learning every day about what works and what doesn’t as we transform from being essentially a bookseller to a rich general merchant with books at our core,” said Ms Reisman, adding that the so-called ‘general merchandise’ categories in Indigo’s offering are experiencing double-digit growth.

In total, book sales account for approximately 78 per cent of Indigo’s revenue, the Financial Post reported. The bookstore also sells a variety of homeware products, baby gifts and stationery items.

However, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Ms Reisman does not want the retailer to move too far away from its roots as the nation’s most popular bookseller.

“Books will remain at the heart and soul of this company, and as long as there are people on the planet who want to buy physical books, we are deeply committed to physical books, both in store and online,” she said.

Ms Reisman also announced plans to expand the Indigo brand to other countries within the next few years. In Canada, Indigo also operates under a number of other brands, including Chapters, Indigo Spirit, Coles and The World’s Biggest Bookstore.