Good News for Independent Booksellers


I was talking to our VP of ABA (general market) sales yesterday. He told me that since January independent bookstores in his market are outpacing the large chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders. This is good news for the independents and the communities they support. There are several reasons that come to mind for this shift in sales.


  • People are not driving as much so the more localized store makes sense. Perhaps people don’t want to spend the extra time and gas to drive to a location when an Independent is handier?
  • The Borders Stores are not having a good year and some of their customers are migrating to the Independent/specialty book retailer.
  • Local communities and their residents may be fed up with the drain on “community” cash by the big boxes who transfer money out of local banks to corporate headquarters. So, they shop elsewhere hoping to keep the money in their local city and have it spent in their local area.
  • Book readers may like the better customer service or specific product selection offered by a local, Independent retailer.

Whatever the reason (and please add your own comments and thoughts) the facts are clear – teh general market, Independent/Specialty book stores are seeing an increase in sales.

Some weeks ago I spoke at the BEA convention and met several Independent Bookstore owners who are having banner years. After talking with them, I realized that they were solid retailers who had found a customer-driven niche to serve. They realized they were Specialty stores and offered products, promotions and service that matched or exceeded customer expectations for that type of store.

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