The Bookstore’s Last Stand

Bookstores are closing; e-books are gaining popularity; Amazon is positioned to publish without paper; would-be authors can self-publish – reading books is not what it used to be.  In her article for Sunday Business in the New York Times – The Bookstore’s Last Stand  – Julie Bosman  targets Barnes and Noble as the last bastion for brick and mortar publishers.  Ironically, the megastore now in jeopardy was one of two (Borders now gone) that threatened the demise of independent bookstores (just like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan: Fox Books vs. The Little Shop Around the Corner).

Banking on the Nook to save their storefront operation, Barnes and Noble may have to follow Amazon, expanding into toys and games to attract customers.  Evidently, books may not be enough to tempt buyers.

Independent book stores are hanging on, supported by their faithful customers, using the social media like Facebook and Twitter to connect with the electronically bent.  Book Soup, conveniently positioned near the stars in West Hollywood, regularly offers book signings and discussions with those rich and famous, who also wrote books.  Others, Like Politics and Prose, in Washington, D.C., maintain a following with newsletters, events,  and posts that reach beyond the Beltway.  Some small bookstores offer a flavor of comfort and exclusivity, and readers seek them out – like the Annapolis Bookstore on Maryland Avenue.

Do you have a favorite independent bookstore that you frequent?  Have you bought a book there recently?

Related Article:  Don’t I Know You From the Dust Jacket

7 thoughts on “The Bookstore’s Last Stand

  1. My favorite local independent closed last year. I try to support Barnes & Noble whenever I can, but going to signings and buying books for me and as gifts.

    • Thanks for your comment. Although the library is my main resource, I still cannot leave a bookstore without buying a book.

  2. In Asheville, NC my bookstore is Malaprops in Charleston, SC it is Indigo Books.
    I think e-readers may help the dedicated small bookstores. They’ve removed the chains of competition, making the only viable dedicated bookseller an indie bookshop. If the shop properly manages it’s customers and runs itself as what I would refer to as a “book boutique” it may just survive.

  3. I live in the UK and I do buy a lot of e-books, I also buy a lot more hard copy books. There will never be anything that replaces the feeling and smell of a book store or a paper book, e-books, ie the Kindle, leave me frustrated.. Every time I pick up a paper book I read the title, see the cover picture and get to know the author. Not so with the Kindle or online E-book, I have to remember it.
    As a child I spent my life in second hand bookstores, today there isn’t one in my town, unless you include the charity ( thrift) shops.
    A friend went into a well know book store here and there was only a very small book section, the rest being other goods. I, for one mourn, the book store. The plight is global I am afraid. M

    • And I was hoping it was just the Americans who have gone batty – guess it is another global crisis. Thanks for your comments; I miss those lovely covers (front and back) too.

  4. I frequent several Indie bookstores in Massachusetts. They are: The Harvard Bookstore and Porter Square Books (both in Cambridge), Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, and the Edgartown Bookstore (both on Martha’s Vineyard – unfortunately, Edgartown Books is closing their doors at the end of February).

    There is no escaping the changing landscape of the publishing business and reading in general, particularly with the advent of e-readers and social media. I do believe that there will always be a market, albeit a shrinking one, for paper books. They offer a reading experience that is simply not possible on an e-reader. However, the ease of convenience and lower cost per book that an e-reader offers cannot be denied.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Thanks for your comments and your noting of other bookstores – sad to hear one is closing. I’ve been to the Harvard Bookstore but not the others. Here’s hoping pen and paper will be able to survive modern times.

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