Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Are Independent Bookstores Dead--Not Yet!
An interesting article appeared in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal, explaining how a few independent bookstores are surviving in today's digital age. The local stores profiled say their principal concern is no longer the huge brick and mortar stores--of which Barnes and Noble is the only one left standing--but the Internet. It's so much easier to go online to buy something and have it instantly downloaded. Case in point, yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble to check out the new releases and the bargain books. I always enjoy Holocaust literature and found a new hardcover called "The Warsaw Anagrams." It was priced at $25.95. I made a note to check out the e-book price when I got home. I went on www.kobobooks.com (I have a Libre e-reader, which is compatible with Kobo rather than Kindle) and found the e-book priced at only $2.79. I bought it and downloaded it in a few seconds. Amazing savings!
Independent booksellers in the Milwaukee and surrounding area (most are in the suburbs) say they survive by holding book club meetings, having book signings with best selling authors and offering discounted books to students. They depend on local community support and loyalty. They have also added cards and other non-book items to their inventory. Stuffed animals sit next to the children's books. Some even sell e-books on their websites.
Another interesting note. The only brick and mortar store that has expanded in recent years is Half Price Books, one of my favorites, since you can also find so many out of print books there as well as on Amazon. My problem with Barnes and Noble (besides the high prices) is the fact that they only stock current stuff and few items from indie publishers.
Even those bookstores that are thriving say they could make more money doing something else and cite concerns about the future.
For the complete article visit:
Next Week: Amie Louellen