Rick Townley recently wrote and article that appears in the Washington Times titled Independent bookstores are making a comeback. He touts the comeback of many independent bookstores after declining sales and store closings for years. He attributes this trend to a number of factors, including the flexibility of small business owners and the changing attitudes of many customers. Many store owners have realized that by offering things like wine and cheese to their customers, selling a variety of other products, and offering educational classes and readings, they can attract and hold clients. Townley points out that “between 2009 and 2012, the total number of independents rose from 1,400 stores to around 1,900. Last year, sales at the small shops rose more than 8 percent over 2011.”
Online book selling giants like Amazon continue to thrive in part because they have a varied business model that is not totally dependent on book sales. Even so, they do very well by using the big book chains as their reading room or showroom where potential customers browse potential books, then go online to purchase them at a discounted price, often with free shipping and no state sales tax. As a result, large bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million are scrambling to survive in a competitive world of published books as the publishing industry as a whole suffers through an agonizing period of transition.
All of this is great news for the author and self publisher struggling to find new venues and strategies for promoting their book(s). They can offer readings and classes through local resources and promote their events through email, social media and online.
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