Chain Stores Crucial? Pah.
Lots of independent bookstore news out there today. Some is good. Some is bad. Some is less than lovely.
First, off is the recent refusal some independents have shown towards stocking the upcoming Harry Potter book. So let me get this straight. Because independent British bookstores can't sell Harry Potter for prices lower than their chainish equivalents, they've instead opted not to sell them at all? How exactly does that work? I can understand not buying them in bulk, but how does one lose money if you have a couple around for faithful customers?
And then from the side of authors who wish to support independents but also want to make mucho money there's Chain of Fools?: Love them or hate them, chain stores are crucial to book sales. As the daughter of a woman who once worked in Kalamazoo, Michigan's oldest independent (and possibly last) bookstore until it was forced out by B&N, I read the article with interest. I remember all too well how faithful authors would come to The Athena to do book signings and then, a year later, do them at B&N without a by-your-leave. I can understand why someone would want to split their time between the big chains and the small independents, but let's remember that some authors don't even care where it is that they sign insofar as it makes them lots of money. And I'm afraid that Ms. Werris loses points for using the term "paradigm shift" with a straight face. Thanks to Bookseller Chick for that particular link.
So is the independent bookstore a dying breed? Maybe not. Consider, for example, that 5 new independent bookstores have just opened. NYC may be ranked dead last nationally in "bookselling stores per resident" with one store for every 43,000 residents, but you want a Taschen store? We've got Taschen out the wazoo. Thanks to Galleycat for the link.