Bookstores Making a Comeback: Real Reading Wins the Day

After more than a decade of digitally fostered decline, bookstores are making a comeback says CBS News in a recent article:

Between 2009 and 2015, more than 570 independent bookstores opened in the U.S., bringing the total to more than 2,200; that’s about a 35 percent jump after more than a decade of decline. The surprise

Events like this one at Book Warehouse in Vancouver help create a sense of community. Here authors William Deverell and Dietrich Kalteis launch new books to an engaged audience. Linda L. Richards photo.

recovery may hold lessons for other small retailers.

The new breed of bookstore, the article suggests, is more than just a play to buy the bestselling thriller, it’s part of a community and often a way to invest leisure time.

Harvard Business School professor Ryan Raffaelli says that some of the successful new stores are helping him to “solve an economic mystery.”

“I often say, these are stories of hope,” Raffaelli laughed.

He set out to explain why the number of independent bookstores has been growing every year since 2009, despite cheaper, more convenient ways to buy books online, in national chain stores, and with e-readers.

“When you get into these things you start to really go deep, you know, like an anthropologist for business,” he told correspondent Tony Dokoupil, “and certainly for how markets change and evolve over time.”

What Raffaelli found is that successful bookstores, like Anderson’s, win with a local appeal, a curated selection, and as many as 500 events a year.

“So, buying a book becomes an act of community-building as opposed to just a consumer purchase?” Dokoupil asked.

“Yeah, oh yeah, for sure,” Anderson replied. “You talk to people, have someone treat you like a friend, and something they love, they’re going to share with you, too, and you’re going to love it, too. You can’t get that online.”

The full piece is here.

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