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Independent Bookstores Continue to Close

Independent Bookstores Continue to Close

Even after a robust holiday sales season, independent bookstore owners across the country continue to close their doors as Amazon and e-readers lure more and more readers away from their local shops. Authors, booksellers, librarians and publishers continue to debate how best to support a diverse, competitive retail book community in a tough economic climate.

Newton Bookshop in Newton, Pennsylvania recently announced its impending closure in an e-mail to customers. Last year, owner Christine Godshall had said that the store was “at a crossroads. With the struggling economy and the rise of e-books, sales are down significantly. In spite of having many regular loyal customers and successful events, we may have to make some very difficult choices in January” (Shelf Awareness).

She encouraged customers to take their business to other independent bookstores, and if they decide to buy an e-reader, to get “anything but a Kindle.” Some alternative e-readers include the Nook from Barnes & Noble, the Sony E-Reader, and the Samsung Papyrus.

Other independent bookstores that have closed recently or are for sale include:

Blue Elephant Bookshop, Decatur, Georgia

Edgartown Books, Edgardtown, Massachusetts

Outwrite Bookstore, Atlanta, Georgia

R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Connecticut

Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pennsylvania

On a related note, the Authors Guild is an organization that works to ensure fair contracts and other employment rights for independent authors, and released a statement against Amazon on its blog yesterday. The organization said:

“Through creative use of its capital and every-growing market power, by compelling publishers in its free book-of-the-month club for Kindle owners, by requiring public libraries to redirect their patrons to Amazon’s commercial website to borrow books for their Kindles, by starting an imprint to compete for authors now published by the largest commercial houses, and, no doubt, by countless uses of its powerful database of consumer behavior, Amazon continues to tighten its grip on the book industry.”

Rumors of a new Amazon venture into physical stores and their continued construction of warehouses nationwide shows that the online retail giant intends to push harder and harder against competing retailers, despite continued criticism of their sales tax evasion and predatory pricing policies.

Best of luck to any independent bookstores that hope to survive this difficult period in the book industry.

Related Stories:

Amazon’s Price Check App: “Kind of Evil”

“Pop Up” Bookstore to Become Permanent?

Good News for Indie Bookstores?


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Photo credit: brewbooks

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5:29PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

so sad. I definitely support local book stores (second hand, of course) I love to read, and my house closely resembles a library lol. I truly don't want ereading to be the future, and in MY house, it won't be

10:30AM PST on Feb 28, 2012

This is terrible. I don't like reading online and I will never have a kindle or anything like it. There's nothing like holding the actual book in your hands, turning the pages, writing observations in the margins...books will never become obsolete.

7:35PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

this is just sad i love going to book stores

9:37PM PST on Feb 20, 2012

Deborah V, I'm with thee. Nothing will replace a book held or your hands or a book you can go back to a year or 2 later and reread if it was really good. I also have books on shelves floor to ceiling. Love them! And it's interesting what one can learn even from fiction books. I mostly read sci-fi/fantasy, but I've learned SO MANY interesting historical facts from these books, things I never dreamed were true. I actually developed an appreciation for history which I'd never had. I'm 68 and I've learned from observing people that a mind without books in it is a very small mind indeed. When a day goes by when I don't read I feel bereft as though I've not eaten that day. My mind and soul feel empty.

9:05AM PST on Feb 20, 2012

I love, love, love bookstores. My daughter keeps trying to get me to switch to a Kindle or the like. No way will that ever happen. Nothing, but nothing can replace a real book and I have the ceiling to floor bookshelves to prove it.

7:35AM PST on Feb 20, 2012

My kids will fall in love with real books and authentic bookstores the way I did. They'll learn to adore the smell of paper, old or new, the feel, the look, just the way I do!!!

7:28AM PST on Feb 20, 2012

As much as i love amazon, my kindle and sites like that give me free kindle books, i would never quit reading real books. Sure eBooks are the new trend, but paper books would not vanish completely because of this. But it is sad to see all these small bookstores loosing business to technology and closing up.

12:54AM PST on Feb 20, 2012

Amazon is certainly trying to create a monopoly for itself. They have a good website and prices, but I wish they could be just a little less greedy and not crush small business.

2:26PM PST on Feb 19, 2012

This is just the beginning! One day we will be just like "Fahrenheit 451." All books are banned, no bookstores, no books in homes, no school books, no reading at home or in public. You will be jailed if seen reading anything. Now, is that where we are headed?! I love bookstores, libraries, little independent nook-type stores, the thrift store book sections, etc., this will be like the end of a culture, a new extinct breed. I'm going to hold onto my books, and buy more, and when the next farmers' market or fair comes, I'll stand outside and sell books, just so we will have a type of independent bookseller still around to push reading from a real book!

4:08AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

The reading learns to think and is dangerous for politicians therefore.

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