Archive for the ‘independent book stores’ category



Anene just wrote a fantastic blog entry about why Borders went bankrupt (there are other reasons, but she touches upon the big one). She talks a bit about all the effort that Borders made to draw people into their stores: The coffee, the food, the free wi-fi, the comfortable setting, etc. And she discusses how, unfortunately, many people abused those perks instead of buying books at Borders.

Now, Borders closing might have a positive impact on independent bookstores…if those bookstores learn from (a) human nature and (b) Borders’ mistakes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Don’t give away wi-fi. But also don’t charge for it. Give people access to wi-fi after they buy a book or coffee.
  • Same thing with author events. Don’t allow people to attend author events for free, but don’t charge them directly. If people buy a book before the event (any book), they get access to the event.
  • Work with e-retailers. It’s easy for anyone to walk into a bookstore, browse for a book, and then hop online on their Kindle or iPhone and buy the book or ebook for cheaper. So make deals with the major online retailers so that when someone uses your wi-fi to buy a book, you get a cut of the profit on the back end.
  • Anene points out that some people bring books and magazines into Borders to read, then they leave. I don’t know how you prevent that without looking like an ass, but frankly, that’s not cool, and there needs to be a way to cut down on it.

Overall, though, I think we need to remember that books are entertainment. Us publishers can’t simply expect people to buy our books because they’re there. We need to publish books that exceed the entertainment value of the alternatives–books, movies, music, etc. That doesn’t mean that we stop signing literary authors. It simply means that we need to publish books that immerse people into a world in a way that movies and TV cannot.

If you think about it, it takes two hours to watch the Captain America movie (which is actually quite good). But it takes 6-8 hours to read your average book. In terms of hours of entertainment, the book is the clear winner. So let’s keep publishing books that make people not want to put them down for 6-8 hours. If we keep doing that, people will go to bookstores to find those books, and bookstores will survive.


The Vanishing Newspaper Book Critic and the Opportunity for Independent Bookstores


Times are definitely changing and it is a perfect opportunity for independents–booksellers and publishers–to participate in shaping the future.

With newspapers cutting staff and reducing overhead, arts and book review editors often find themselves either taking on more responsibilities or out of a job. According to an article on the American Booksellers Association website, it was the latter for San Diego Union Tribune arts and books critic Bob Pincus and the newspapers readers were not happy about it. After Pincus was let go, several area independent booksellers– Warwick’sMysterious GalaxyThe Book Works, and The Yellow Book Road –decided to fill the gap themselves.

Each bookstores will recommend one title each week in a process that will allow the stores to showcase their personalities through the diversity of their recommendations.

Here’s the article:

Raise a toast to America’s best loved independent bookstores.


One of our local favorites: “In the summer of 1969, a group of activist-minded graduate students paused during their studies to open a bookstore where great writing and provocative ideas could be had. A second location opened in downtown St. Louis last year, bucking the trend of independent bookstores closing.”

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