Independent Bookstores Aren’t Dead Yet

Independent Bookstore

Given that you’re reading a post about bookstores written by a word nerd from Grammarly for HuffPost Books, we can safely assume that you’re a reader. So where do you buy books?

A few years ago, your answer was probably a big box chain like Borders, Barnes and Noble, or online superstore, Amazon. Local independent bookstores were on the decline, and it seemed only a matter of time before they became a quaint relic of the past – like soda fountains or knowing your neighbors by name.

When Borders closed its doors in 2011 after 40 years in business, many saw it as the beginning of the end. Waldenbooks and B. Dalton, two of the largest bookstore chains, had already shuttered, leaving Barnes and Noble and discount chain Books-A-Million to duke it out in the brick-and-mortar bookstore space.

But then something remarkable happened. It turned out that reports of the death of the indie bookstore were greatly exaggerated.

In part because of the vacuum left by the closing of big box stores and in part because of the groundswell behind the “Shop Local” movement, independent bookstores are actually on the rise. The American Booksellers Association reported an eight percent growth in sales in 2012, and those numbers have continued to steadily, modestly climb.

Your Local Bookstore: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

According to The CS Monitor, community support is “the secret ingredient behind a quiet resurgence of independent bookstores.” When you buy a book at one, you keep your money in the local economy, something that appeals to many shoppers. You’re also more likely to find a unique selection of curated books and personalized recommendations from the store’s employees, who are usually enthusiastic evangelists of the written word.

As Author Wendy Webb puts it, “They’re places where you can run into friends and neighbors, or curl up in a cozy corner to read. And they’re also beautiful book-filled rooms, each of them unique, with a character and feel all their own. I’ve never been into a bookstore I didn’t fall in love with.”

Like Barnes and Noble, many independent bookstores offer more than just new books. Cafes, cards and gifts, and other non-book goods are typical, as are used books and other media. But when was the last time you went to the B&N for a beer and a poetry reading? It’s not uncommon for indie bookstores to become community spaces. And yes, some of them even serve liquor.

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SOURCE: The Huffington Post, Grammarly

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