Saturday, July 2, 2016

Recent Developments in the Bookstore Arena

Readers know that I am a great supporter of independent bookstores, was sad and worried when many of them went out of business, and was encouraged when their numbers recently went back up a bit. Two recent related articles are of interest. The first, by Alex Shephard for The New Republic, says that the huge chain Barnes and Noble is in financial trouble and may close some or all of its stores. Shephard writes that although some of us independent bookstores supporters may be tempted to rejoice, we should not do so; B and N’s closing, if it happens, will hurt the publishing business. The chain can order large numbers of books, which contributes to the publishers’ being able to publicize the books more widely, support author book tours, etc., all good for the book business. Books in certain robust genres with hard-core fans, such as romance and science fiction, would be less affected by a closing than would “literary” fiction. A second related article, on The Literary Hub (a site which, by the way, I recommend), points out another (more positive) trend: some indie publishers are now starting indie bookstores. Several examples were given, including Melville House Publishing’s opening a bookstore in Brooklyn in 2008. The other examples were more recent, or were still in the planning stages. This is certainly an encouraging trend.
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