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The fate of independent bookstores

Original post made by Stephanie, Midtown, on Oct 16, 2006

This article in the Mecury

Web Link

says that independent bookstores such as Kepler's can't compete with Borders, Amazon, and Costco etc. and so are likely to fail unless customers choose to subsidize their existence.

It's not just the Internet and big box stores contributing to the decline of independent bookstores. It's also the libraries that are offering new services that allow readers to reserve books and request purchases and even receive email notification when a desired book is available. Unless I want to own a book for reference or am desperate right before a plane trip, I hardly ever buy a book these days. Is this a bad thing? Well, maybe is is bad for booksellers, but in general, I think not. In fact, I like to think of this as my way of reducing my carbon load and helping to preserve a few more trees.

Comments (1)

Posted by J.L.
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 16, 2006 at 10:56 pm

No doubt about it, many local independents are challenged. This is a multi-faceted problem - one that can only be dealt with by individual independent bookstores, one at a time. There is no universal solution.

Kepler's is essentially on life support, with consumers having to make a conscious decision to shop there, if they want the store to remain. Music shops like Tower records are having similar problems.

What most don't know is that when Amazon was starting up, and making a beginning impact, the American Booksellers Assn. has planned a comprehensive commerce environment that would have worked much like Amazon does, today. That idea died, for lack of interest and will. Whose fault is that.

In a way , small independents that are in trouble have brought many of their current problems on themselves, in spite a popular notions to the contrary.


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