indie bookstoresThere’s a new article in Sunday’s Washington Post which takes a look at the revival of  indie bookstores. According to the several booksellers interviewed for the piece, their stores are thriving and sales have never been better.

Independent bookstores are not dead. In fact, in some of the country’s most urbane and educated communities, they are making a comeback.

In an e-tailing world, their resurgence is driven by e-book growth that has leveled off, dyed-in-the-wool print lovers who won’t (or can’t) abandon page flipping, a new category of hybrid reader (the latest mystery, digital; the latest John Irving, print) and savvy retailers such as the Englands, positioning their stores squarely in the buy-local movement and as a respite from screens.

I have been saying for a while now that indie bookstores aren’t dying off, and Forbes has also noticed the resurgence of indie bookstores. And now that the Washington Post has chimed in I guess it’s official.

With the American Bookseller Association reporting that there are more bookstores open this year than last, it’s becoming increasingly clear that booksellers are finding services to offer that Amazon and the larger chains like Barnes & Noble just can’t match. Forbes had a good explanation:

To survive in the age of Amazon, many bookstores are emphasizing what e-commerce has a tougher time delivering: community and a personal touch. It’s not exactly a new strategy. But it has gotten far more attention in recent years.

Indeed, many bookstore owners are trying to create a sort of community center amid their shelves. They’ve filled their store calendars with events like author lectures, writing workshops, and children’s camps. Adding cafes also helps to create a scene while also diversifying revenue beyond just selling the latest bestsellers.

But in spite of the good news, I am expecting some in the book industry to continue to proclaim that Amazon kills indies. It will probably go something like this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

I’m sure you can just picture it now, can’t you?

image by juhansonin


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