Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Indie bookstores fight back

The Washington Post writes about how large book retailers such as Borders and Barnes & Noble and online retailers Amazon, had all but killed the local independently owned book stores, who are now fighting back with creativity, converting their stores to cafe's or book clubs or speciality stores focusing only on a particular genre of books. The number of independent bookstores has been reducing by 200-300 per year, but now these stores are slowly increasing in number again.
For a long time, from 1992 to 2002, you literally could count on two hands the number of openings," said Oren Teicher, chief operating officer of the American Booksellers Association. "In the last three years there are 60, 70, 80 stores opening" each year, he said.
When I was in college at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS, I went to the KSU Union Bookstore or Varney's only to buy and sell my textbooks, never for any other reading material. For books to buy and hold on to forever, I went to Claflin Books, a really cute little store at the north end of campus, or to Dusty Bookshelf in Aggieville for biographies and romance novels. These stores had character and ambience, they offered a unique experience that went beyond just buying a book. I treasure my bookmarks from Dusty's to this day.

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