From the Fortune Blog:
Well, not so fast. After years of steep decline, independent bookstores have turned the corner — to a point. Sales grew 8% in 2012 and are on track for similar gains this year, according to the American Booksellers Association. The uptick is welcome news for the industry, which has been in turmoil throughout recent memory.
“For us who are in the trenches, it’s funny reading about how we’re disappearing when we’re really growing,” said Evans, who now has four bookstores with the addition of the new one in Larkspur, Calif.
No single reason explains the change in fortune for small sellers. The death of big chains like Borders and retreat of Barnes & Noble has certainly played a role. There’s simply less competition now.
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Indeed, many bookstore owners are trying to create a sort of community center amid their shelves. They’ve filled their store calendars with events like author lectures, writing workshops, and children’s camps. Adding cafes also helps to create a scene while also diversifying revenue beyond just selling the latest bestsellers.
“We want to provide a destination,” said Paul Jaffe, co-owner of Copperfield’s Books, an independent chain with six stores in Northern California. He plans to open a new 7,000-square-foot store later this year in San Rafael, north of San Francisco. The store will be downtown, which lost its last bookseller years ago. Jaffe said that the closing of a nearby Borders two years ago left a void in the community that he is hoping to fill.
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“It’s very true that our new book sales have declined and will probably continue to decline, but were not just about new books anymore,” Jaffe said. These ancillary items account for about 30% of Copperfield’s total sales.
Link to the rest at Fortune Blog