Culture

People Love Books, So Where Are the Bookstores?

A recent NPR article has a few interesting facts about bookstores and the continuing stand-off between the worlds of digital and print:

…independent bookstores overall are enjoying a mini-revival, with their numbers swelling 25 percent since 2009, according to the American Booksellers Association. Sales are up, too.

Remarkably, it’s a revival fueled, at least in part, by digital natives like 23-year-old Ross Destiche, who’s hauling an armful of books to the register. “Nothing matches the feel and the smell of a book,” he says. “There’s something special about holding it in your hand and knowing that that’s the same story every time, and you can rely on that story to be with you.”

Chain bookstores seem to be going the other way. Borders is gone, as are B. Dalton and Waldenbooks. The market was left wide open for Barnes & Noble, but they chose to downsize. Most recently, the residents of Forest Hills, New York, are trying to save a Barnes & Noble located on Austin Street, a popular spot for eating and shopping. The store is a “community cornerstone,” according to the online petition fighting to keep it.

This is the first, and perhaps the last, time I’ve heard of New York borough denizens starting a petition to keep a large corporate chain store.