Very Good News for Independent Bookstores
April 5, 2013
In 2012, believe it or not, independent bookstores arguably had their best year ever. This is due in part to the demise of Borders in the book market, the diminishing presence of Barnes & Noble, and the ever-trending charge for consumers to support small and local businesses. Also considerably responsible is the growing awareness of what was lost when, from 2000 to 2007, roughly 1,000 bookstores closed: independent bookstores can compete with Amazon and B&N when they focus on building relationships with their customers, by hosting workshops, community events, and more. Blogger Kirsten Reach, at Melville House, suggested that the closing of Borders has shown book buyers what it looks like when the neighborhood bookstore has become an “endangered species,” causing ardent support for the indie stores that are still up and running.
In March, the Christian Science Monitor ran a cover story called, “The novel resurgence of independent bookstores.” Citing data from a survey by the American Booksellers Association, while Barnes & Noble saw mild revenue, the independents’ sales rose eight percent from 2011 through 2012. Bookstore owners across the country are proclaiming how good sales have been lately. Jim Milliot, co-editorial director at Publishers Weekly, said, “I think the worst days of the independents are behind them.”
Concerning the ever-growing threat of the e-book against the continued survival of print, the CSM wrote: “e-books are just the latest in a string of threats that were supposed to kill off independents. In the 1930s, some people believed the paperback would mean the death of bookstores. In the 1970s, it was mall chains like… Waldenbooks.”
Wendy Welch, co-owner of Tales of the Lonesome Pine in Virginia, declared, “2012 was the year of the bookstore.” We’ll see what booksellers can say about that by the end of 2013.
For more, read the whole story from the Christian Science Monitor at http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2013/0317/The-novel-resurgence-of-independent-bookstores/%28page%29/4.
Sources: Melville House, The Christian Science Monitor