Shopping for real books in a “real” store was supposed to go the way of the dodo, as anyone not hiding under a rock these past few years knows.
But interestingly, writes Michael Rosenwald in The WaPo, some bookstores – “indies” no less – are making a comeback of sorts.
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.
The American Booksellers Association, which represents independent bookstores, says its membership — it hit a low of 1,600 in 2008 — has grown 6.4 percent in 2013, to 2,022. Sales were up 8 percent in 2012, and those gains have held this year.
Still, as the rest of the article says, their long-term success is far from assured, because of demographics and continuing shifts in consumer behavior.
So what can book and bookstore lovers such as this writer do, to ward off the (eventual?) demise of bookstores everywhere? Vote with their wallets.