Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

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Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Kenwood on Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:04 am

With the news of Borders filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closing 200 stores, the inevitability of them closing all stores is far greater than them not doing so. And word is Barnes & Noble isn't far behind. Waldens already closed every shop around here. So who else is there? Books-a-Million? There are none up this way. Will they expand or fold like the rest? Who knows.

But let's say the corporate giants fold. Does that create opportunities for indie booksellers to return and flourish? Or has the business model changed too drastically, or is it changing too quickly, for brick-and-mortar indies to do well? Is everything going online?

What are your thoughts?

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by steven pirie on Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:06 am

That's a tough one. I think it's very much in the balance right now. I don't know what it's like States-side, but over here the supermarkets are stocking the best sellers at hugely discounted prices, so it's hard to see how any stores, indie or otherwise, can compete with that.

Possibly the indies might pick up on all the other titles as 'specialist' sellers. Or maybe there'll be one or two authors still able to command an actual print run and make the shelves while the vast majority go POD and online.

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Tall Tyrion on Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:14 pm

I'd say that online retailing, combined with a poor economy and declining literacy rates (the desire to read, not necessarily the ability), are all factors. Plus, as the big publishing houses decline, so will the big retailers. POD and other indie publishers have different distribution channels.

I don't see the independents going away, though. Too many used books out there still circulating, and many of them are already onboard with online sales. Powell's in Portland Oregon comes to mind.

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Kmzone on Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:59 pm

Honestly, Ken I think that it is in resurgence right now. Yes, there are many zine's in trouble , but the more I see and hear, the more I can see small presses doing it right, and many authors are leaning towards them. It is my opinion that, sadly, these bookstores will strictly be online in a couple of years.

I do still think that there will always be bookstores around, even if we don't have Books-A-Million in our separate areas, they can always swoop in when both of these fine establishments close their doors.

What is sadder even is that what "they" said about the Walmart stores coming in, closing the smaller mom-n-pop stores and then breaking down seems to be the trend that is going on with the bookstores... it's a hard thing to swallow, that is for sure.

Turns out that the Borders stores that survived the first cut of the closings may not make it through the NOW second cut they are going to have.

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Tall Tyrion on Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:47 pm

I see it as a positive for indie booksellers, though. I just can't imagine that used bookstores are quite done yet.

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Kenwood on Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:05 pm

Tall Tyrion wrote:I see it as a positive for indie booksellers, though. I just can't imagine that used bookstores are quite done yet.
I think much of it depends on how readers react. Digital music destroyed the indie record store industry. Where there used to be hundreds in and around Boston, there are now maybe twenty. Of course digital music and digital books are two vastly different things at the moment. Anyone could rip a CD and put it online; it's not so easy with books.

Sadly, as e-books become more common, so will the illegal downloading. That'll drastically change the game. And don't put it past some 12-year-old with a keyboard and time to burn to go and transcribe every Stephen King book and put it online.

However, it would be cool to see some indie shops kind of step up and do well on a smaller scale.

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Tall Tyrion on Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:51 pm

Kenwood wrote:However, it would be cool to see some indie shops kind of step up and do well on a smaller scale.

I think they will, anyways. As you said, e-books are not quite as easy to pirate, especially older works that are not yet sold that way. As the landscape changes, it will become easier...

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Tall Tyrion on Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:31 am

I'm in Las Cruces to take my son to something at the University here and I saw they were building a new on-campus Barnes and Noble.

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Re: Can There Be a Resurgence of Indie Booksellers?

Post by Kuro on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:58 pm

Barnes and Noble takes care of my alma mater's text books too. And dang are they expensive. I blew through close to $1000 my first semester on books alone (some of which couldn't then be resold because they came out with a new edition...). This is of course before I discovered buying books online.

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