The surprising longevity of a Washington Heights bookstore that was originally intended to exist only for a month has book lovers laughing in the face of e-readers and Amazon. The Word Up bookstore began as a project through the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), but its popularity forecasts a promising future as a semi-permanent store.
Word Up has hosted dozens of events, including “parties, book readings, poetry slams [and] dance and musical performances put together by local volunteers” (dnainfo.com). The live events, as well as the store’s Community Supported Bookshop (CSB) program, have made it stand out.
CSB allows patrons to buy a share of the store for $20 and receive six used books in return.
At a time when even large chain bookstores struggle to compete against online retailers such as Amazon, this community-based model of bookselling may be the key to the future of print books. This holiday season was the most profitable in several years for many indie booksellers, indicating that former Borders customers may turn to small stores to fill their book buying needs.
Recent animosity against Amazon’s predatory competition practices may also be a factor, as informed shoppers make an effort to buy local and support their communities.
I am a huge believer in supporting independent bookstores, even though the closest one is half an hour away from my house. I always go there to buy my books. The cost of gas and slightly higher book prices are worth it for the quality shopping experience and the knowledge that I am helping to support people who genuinely love books.
Do you support independent bookstores? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo credit: matt.davis
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