Will your favorite independent bookstore still be there when you start searching for the right gifts for your family and friends before Christmas? And does anyone even care?
We tend to think so. In our point of view, independent bookstores, or simply indies, represent an important and often irreplaceable part of the identity of specific neighborhoods or, in some cases, even whole cities. It is undeniable, that within the past two decades, many of these unique bookstores have simply vanished, some in complete silence, some accompanied by loud expressions of discontent from their loyal customers.
Numerous voices have been predicting the extinction of indies for quite some time and there have also been many initiatives aimed at raising awareness about this situation and at supporting independent bookselling (we like to think that Bookstore Guide belongs to this category as well). Several groups or forces have been labeled as the nemesis of the independent bookstore – chain bookstores, Amazon.com and online bookselling in general, ignorant public, the global financial crisis, and this list could go on and on.
We have decided to explore this issue in depth in this series of articles entitled “An Insight into the Current State of Independent Bookselling”. And although we can’t and we don’t even want to pretend that our stance is neutral, we will do our best not to get too carried away and to provide you with the clearest possible image of the current situation, backed up by a factual account of how we got there and perhaps even offer a few hints regarding its possible future development. We have decided to divide this report into several parts since indies have to face challenges at several fronts at the same time, and mixing them all together could just cause more confusion. We also have an ambition to provide you with some opinions and first-hand experience from people who are directly involved in this issue in one way or another. We will thus do our best to present the most interesting insider perspectives on diverse aspects of this complex topic written exclusively for Bookstore Guide by selected most competent authors.
Needless to stress, that we’re also hoping for some feedback from your part, as we’re absolutely sure that you have your own opinion on this problem. So, before we move on to exploring the various and often conflicting aspects of our rather wide subject, lets state the introductory question clearly right away – is a brick-and-mortar independent bookstore just a relic of the past? Are we blinded by our own nostalgia to admit that there are easier, more comfortable and cheaper ways to get the books we desire? Follow our attempts at an honest answer in the upcoming series of articles…
More articles from this series:
Independent Bookstores in Danger of Extinction – Who is to Blame?
Independent Booksellers and the Fixed Book Price: a Horror Story?
Chain Bookstores: The Rise, Struggle and Downfall?
Independent Booksellers: What Can Be Done To Help?
An Interview with an Antiquarian Bookseller: The Caretaker
Literaturhaus: Books, Words and Much Much More
eBooks - a Risk or an Opportunity?
The Publisher's Role in the Emerging eBook Market
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