Friday, February 15, 2013

Indie Bookstores Holding the Fort

Despite increased crumbling of the big chains and ever more encroachment from electronic fronts, book sales numbers from 2012 indicate that independent bookstores continue to be the cornerstone of the industry. From Christian Science Monitor:
The overall story of 2012 for US bookstores was more up-and-down than anything. Sales numbers were higher than in 2011 for the months of April, May, June, July, October, November, and December. Numbers fell for February, March, August, and September, while they were even with 2011 sales figures in January. 
Jack McKeown, co-owner and president of Books & Books in Westhampton Beach in New York, wrote on the Publishers Weekly website that he thought booksellers should be “cautiously optimistic” about this news. 
“Let me get this straight,” he wrote. “The industry loses 12% of its brick-and-mortar shelf space with the collapse of Borders (third quarter 2011); suffers tough comps with the impact of Borders liquidation sales; and endures further encroachment from online and ebooks, and yet bookstores still managed to turn in a virtually flat performance 2012 vs. 2011? And a strong December uptick. Pretty remarkable.”
In 2012, independent bookstores reported some of their strongest sales ever for the month of December, with their numbers rising almost 8 percent for the year, also experiencing a 28 percent rise in their online sales. By contrast, Barnes & Noble saw a 10.9 percent drop in retail operations for the holiday season. The retailer plans to close about one-third of its stores over the next decade.
You can see the full piece here.



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