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(Christian Science Monitor)   Independent bookstores see renaissance, maybe because they are the only place adults can go without having to listen to smug kids asking "what's a book?"   (csmonitor.com) divider line 44
    More: Interesting, independents, Larry The Cable Guy, bookstores, PayPal Sandy Relief Fund raised, Publishers Weekly, Mayflower  
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1016 clicks; posted to Business » on 17 Mar 2013 at 4:04 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-17 02:57:22 PM
Well, there's also the fact that those stores have a vested interest in you finding what you want, and even order it for you. Amazon is nice and all, but there's the satisfaction of having a book directly in your hot little hands.
 
2013-03-17 03:48:58 PM

hubiestubert: Well, there's also the fact that those stores have a vested interest in you finding what you want, and even order it for you. Amazon is nice and all, but there's the satisfaction of having a book directly in your hot little hands.


Not only that, but I find that browsing for books on Amazon is not nearly as fun or interesting as wandering around a book store and picking something up and flipping through it, reading a few paragraphs here and there - from ANY part of the book you choose and then just buying it.

And while Amazon can deliver things with amazing speed, if you're in a bookstore, you can walk out of there with a book right then and there.

If you've ever found yourself stuck in some unfamiliar town and have nothing to do (maybe you're there for work - who knows?) a bookstore is a great place to kill time.
 
2013-03-17 04:01:15 PM

Happy Hours: hubiestubert: Well, there's also the fact that those stores have a vested interest in you finding what you want, and even order it for you. Amazon is nice and all, but there's the satisfaction of having a book directly in your hot little hands.

Not only that, but I find that browsing for books on Amazon is not nearly as fun or interesting as wandering around a book store and picking something up and flipping through it, reading a few paragraphs here and there - from ANY part of the book you choose and then just buying it.

And while Amazon can deliver things with amazing speed, if you're in a bookstore, you can walk out of there with a book right then and there.

If you've ever found yourself stuck in some unfamiliar town and have nothing to do (maybe you're there for work - who knows?) a bookstore is a great place to kill time.


Plus some of the independents I've been too lately have started stocking out of print used books.

/I finally found a copy of "On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors"
 
2013-03-17 04:28:27 PM
I think it also has something to do with the fact that many of the big box bookstores went out of business and the small indie bookstore is the only game in town anymore.
 
2013-03-17 04:35:24 PM

Happy Hours: hubiestubert: Well, there's also the fact that those stores have a vested interest in you finding what you want, and even order it for you. Amazon is nice and all, but there's the satisfaction of having a book directly in your hot little hands.

Not only that, but I find that browsing for books on Amazon is not nearly as fun or interesting as wandering around a book store and picking something up and flipping through it, reading a few paragraphs here and there - from ANY part of the book you choose and then just buying it.

And while Amazon can deliver things with amazing speed, if you're in a bookstore, you can walk out of there with a book right then and there.

If you've ever found yourself stuck in some unfamiliar town and have nothing to do (maybe you're there for work - who knows?) a bookstore is a great place to kill time.


Dammit, this.

There isn't a independent non-niche new bookstore in my freaking college town anymore.  It sucks.

At least we've got a good library with a decent new selection, I suppose.  And one might be opening.  Sigh.  Right now it's just Barnes and Noble, and their selection sucks.  Their book selection, I mean.  If I want a generic lame gift marginally related to writing or reading I'm set.
 
2013-03-17 05:16:30 PM
Perhaps much like Mr. Hours, above, I look for bookstores wherever my job takes me.

One thing I've noticed is that you usually don't find decent indie bookstores if there is a B&N nearby.

But you can often find them near a defunct Borders location.
 
2013-03-17 06:05:40 PM

StreetlightInTheGhetto: Happy Hours: hubiestubert: Well, there's also the fact that those stores have a vested interest in you finding what you want, and even order it for you. Amazon is nice and all, but there's the satisfaction of having a book directly in your hot little hands.

Not only that, but I find that browsing for books on Amazon is not nearly as fun or interesting as wandering around a book store and picking something up and flipping through it, reading a few paragraphs here and there - from ANY part of the book you choose and then just buying it.

And while Amazon can deliver things with amazing speed, if you're in a bookstore, you can walk out of there with a book right then and there.

If you've ever found yourself stuck in some unfamiliar town and have nothing to do (maybe you're there for work - who knows?) a bookstore is a great place to kill time.

Dammit, this.

There isn't a independent non-niche new bookstore in my freaking college town anymore.  It sucks.

At least we've got a good library with a decent new selection, I suppose.  And one might be opening.  Sigh.  Right now it's just Barnes and Noble, and their selection sucks.  Their book selection, I mean.  If I want a generic lame gift marginally related to writing or reading I'm set.


or a game like munchkin, apple's to Apple's, ticket to ride, settlers of catan or a kids toy
 
2013-03-17 06:15:09 PM
Worst headline-written-by-a-cranky-old-empty-nester in awhile.
 
2013-03-17 06:16:41 PM
25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-03-17 06:24:59 PM
There is something cool about an indie bookstore; maybe it's just that the big box store feel so sterile and corporate. Last time we were in Chicago for work, I visited a little bookstore in Wrigleyville that had a really great, diverse selection. My wife even allowed an overly long perusal of a new age kama sutra book, so that was nice. Wish I could remember where that place was, I'll have to visit again next time we're in town.
 
2013-03-17 06:35:26 PM
I buy books from indy bookstores through Amazon, thus making everyone happy.  Farking Barnes and Noble....

"Do you have our farkity fark savings card?"

"No."  But I know what's coming as I think to myself "Dude, I'm here to pass time with my daughter and I'm just buying a 99 cent kids book for her.  I've also already waited in line five minutes since you're the only cashier and the 80 year old woman two customers ago wrote a farking check as if she was deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls.

"OK, well it can save 10% on this purchase..."

To Myself:  "This is why I shop online."

I know the guy's going to get in trouble if he doesn't ask, and I know he thinks it's as absurd as I do.  But man I hate the song and dance.
 
2013-03-17 06:36:41 PM
Not everyone makes 100% of their purchasing decisions based solely on price.

It's not a mom-and-pop bookstore, but our particular Barnes and Noble location seems to be weathering the economic downturn rather well.  I guess the solidly middle class (and even upper middle class) folks who live in this area don't mind paying a little more above Amazon's price to support a relaxing place for families to go, relax and read, and browse the offerings.  It seems to be one of the ways in which the "haves" in this economy differentiate from the price conscious "have nots."  We voluntarily pay more for the experience.

We regularly---usually twice a month---take out daughter to Barnes and Noble (our nearest bookstore with a children's section) to pick out a book, even though we could get books cheaper from Amazon (yes, we have an Amazon Prime membership).  She likes browsing the offerings to find something new to take home.   It makes for a nice bribe reward for good behavior or school accomplishments.  We think it's a worthwhile expense since it encourages her to read and associate positive events ("family fun time") with books.
 
2013-03-17 06:52:38 PM
I miss the Oxford book store in Atlanta.  That place was great.  Had all sorts of great little reading niches and no one ever bothered you.

I haven't stepped foot inside a bookstore in years.
 
2013-03-17 07:25:31 PM

Shrugging Atlas: I buy books from indy bookstores through Amazon, thus making everyone happy.  Farking Barnes and Noble....

"Do you have our farkity fark savings card?"

"No."  But I know what's coming as I think to myself "Dude, I'm here to pass time with my daughter and I'm just buying a 99 cent kids book for her.  I've also already waited in line five minutes since you're the only cashier and the 80 year old woman two customers ago wrote a farking check as if she was deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls.

"OK, well it can save 10% on this purchase..."

To Myself:  "This is why I shop online."

I know the guy's going to get in trouble if he doesn't ask, and I know he thinks it's as absurd as I do.  But man I hate the song and dance.


I hate when they don't stop there.  "Well, on this purchase, it would have only saved you 9 cents.  But if you were buying fifty dollars of books, you would have saved five dollars.  If you were buying a hundred dollars of books, you would have saved ten dollars.  Think of how much you spend on books over the course of a year - and that could be a *lot* of savings when it all adds up.  And you look like a person who loves reading, so I think this would be something that would really be good for you. And right now, there's a special offer.  If you sign up now, you get free shipping with no minimum purchase if you order from the Barnes and Noble dot com website, for an entire year.  And you get $50 in coupons for signing up.  That's twice the value of the membership fee of $25.  It's like getting paid to sign up!"

What's worse, you have heard this spiel delivered almost verbatim to every person in line ahead of you.  The spiel is delivered even if you indicate you are not interested.  The cashier doesn't even really want to give it, but he's like a carnival barker, and he's got to do his job.  If he doesn't sell his quota, he's going to be stuck at that entry level cashier job and not get that supervisor position so that he can hide back in the stockroom with his laptop and surreptitiously update his blog on the free Wi-Fi from the cafe.
 
2013-03-17 07:25:57 PM
Barnes and Noble and Borders used to take a ton of their business.  Not so much anymore.
 
2013-03-17 07:27:33 PM
My theory is that books will survive by 1) going up-market like all obsolete or archaic goods and services; and 2) concentrating on what they do better than e-books.

When the automobile replaced horses, horses became luxury items and carriages still more so. You have rich aristocrats and would-be society types who go into horse-flesh big time because it is obsolete and luxury rather than a mundane necessity. By reverse snobbery a billionaire might drive an old Ford, but his wife is collecting tropheys for her dressage team or his daughters are into Bridle Paths and steeplechase.

The same happened to many other articles, such as boar bristle shaving brushes and fountain pens with fancy nibs.

On the other hand, there will be more lavish books--limited editions with fancy binding, paper, inks, illustration. There will also be relatively more comic books and cartoon books--because those don't really work all that well in electronic form--I've got some good examples and some bad examples--cartoons with too much pixelation, cartoons of great beauty but too large for my screens (Little Nemo in Slumberland is too big to read in the original broadsheet format let alone on a 27 inch screen--you need HD floor model televisions for the right size but then they're too far away.)

Far from "what's a book?" I expect books to go the way of radio. Remember radio? It never really went away, did it? You can listen to a million stations on line and they're no worse than over-air broadcasts and sometimes better, but people still have radios in their cars and they still play local stations as well as the hundreds of rather repetitious and redundant stations you can pay extra to get.

Television may well die although it actually still works much better than slow internet connections with constant pixilation and screen freezes, but I don't expect books to die.

I got rid of several encyclopedias and dictionaries for shelf space, but I still love to lie down or sit down and read. I've bought a number of books on both Kindle and paper. The right price for an e-book is probably about the difference between what you now pay for a paper book and the cost of a book before competition from electronic media. Buy both for the price of one.

No doubt, the prices should go down, but the paper shouldn't totally vanish. And it hasn't. People are buying more paper than ever. Electronics can't be counted on to be around when you need them. They fail too often and DRM and other crap make it doubtful if you are really buying anything. You are only renting, and the rental model didn't last long in the XIXth century and won't last long in the XXIst, I expect.

In the 1700s a crappy three volume novel bound in calf would have cost you about a week's wages for a well-paid worker. Now you can get infinite amounts of crappy fiction for next to nothing. But the really good books, the ones that have been filtered through editors, publishers, critics and audiences, are still worth something and always will be. And so is the physical book, the lovely object that appeals to all the senses including touch and smell and hearing as you rustle through the pages.

Bookstores are like little clubs for random people who love books. Unfortunately, people who love books often love completely different books. It's not quite as social as a football team or a restaurant--we all have our own private loves and hates. But a bookstore is a very nice place to spend or piss away a lot of time and money.

As usual, the niche players adapt and survive, while the middle-of-the-roaders get squashed. Independant bookstores and online mega-markets are doing fine, but a lot of chains have gone down in the time I have been reading books.

We've lost Blockbusters, Rogers Video, and now the Rideau Center theatres (which close this month) but we still have more bookstores in this town than the Province of New Brunswick, which is pretty much the same population--that's about 65, maybe a few more or less.

Video did not kill the radio star. It's a bum rap. And it didn't kill TV or cable or books or even newspapers. People are reading more newspapers than ever, although Old Europe and Old America may be losing subscribers to free news business models that steal their advertising.

I'm saddened by the disappearance of some of the old commerce, because it was local and healthy for cities and towns, but I would really mourn the loss of small and used bookstores. And I prefer to line up for a cashier rather than line up even longer to do his or her job myself for no pay.

I can't even pay my bills at the cash point in the food court any more. We risk a hollowing out of everything if we don't make wise consumer choices rather than sell out for pennies, now also obsolete.
 
2013-03-17 07:31:09 PM
Independent bookstores? Is there were people used to go before blockbuster and hollywood video took over?
 
2013-03-17 07:33:49 PM

brantgoose: My theory is that books will survive by 1) going up-market like all obsolete or archaic goods and services; and 2) concentrating on what they do better than e-books.


This.
 
2013-03-17 07:41:51 PM

FizixJunkee: brantgoose: My theory is that books will survive by 1) going up-market like all obsolete or archaic goods and services; and 2) concentrating on what they do better than e-books.

This.


They will go down-market as well.

Judging from what's on the shelves, I take it that many people purchase a Harlequin romance as an impulse buy at Wal-Mart, Meijer, or Kroger.

I doubt many people would add a Harlequin e-book to their shopping cart when perusing Amazon, Google Play Books, or iBooks.
 
2013-03-17 08:00:53 PM
Niche businesses that offer decent customer service will always be around.

/books as a medium to deliver content is going to go the same route as vinyl
//you'll get over it
 
rpm
2013-03-17 08:12:30 PM

gingerjet: /books as a medium to deliver content is going to go the same route as vinyl
//you'll get over it


This
images.waterloorecords.com
is across the street from this
farm9.staticflickr.com

/Both hot, like the sales at those stores.
 
2013-03-17 08:30:51 PM
It's because Borders went away. Has nothing to do with any sort of mass thirst for shiatty bookstores.
 
2013-03-17 08:34:43 PM

FizixJunkee: brantgoose: My theory is that books will survive by 1) going up-market like all obsolete or archaic goods and services; and 2) concentrating on what they do better than e-books.

This.


I'm surprised the big publishers aren't offering more high quality bound editions already. I'll gladly drop $40-100 on a good edition of a book I want.
 
2013-03-17 08:58:34 PM
Independent bookstores see renaissance, maybe because HIPSTERS.
 
2013-03-17 09:05:13 PM
Not sure where some of you live but I've downloaded a 1000 page book from amazon in less time than it takes to wait in line an pay for a real book
 
kab
2013-03-17 09:47:18 PM

gingerjet: /books as a medium to deliver content is going to go the same route as vinyl


Readily available for a good deal of content if I know where to look?

I'm ok with this.
 
2013-03-17 10:23:31 PM
There is something cool about an indie bookstore; maybe it's just that the big box store feel so sterile and corporate. Last time we were in Chicago for work, I visited a little bookstore in Wrigleyville that had a really great, diverse selection. My wife even allowed an overly long perusal of a new age kama sutra book, so that was nice. Wish I could remember where that place was, I'll have to visit again next time we're in town.

Oh, I hope you don't mean the one on North Broadway across from Jewel-Osco. That was the best one. They had at least two cats, and rooms full of used books. They closed down just as we moved away. I think he was planning on moving closer to downtown.
 
2013-03-17 11:01:39 PM
brantgoose

Video may have not killed the radio star, but you have to admit people were very surprised that Susan Boyle was such a good singer because of how ugly she is.

It's very rare that you see an ugly new singer on American Idolatry or The Voice now a days.
 
2013-03-17 11:24:47 PM

gingerjet: Niche businesses that offer decent customer service will always be around.

/books as a medium to deliver content is going to go the same route as vinyl
//you'll get over it


Except there is something wrong with the conflation of everything into a single glowing eye that sits on our desk and stares at us all day. Humans like me need to have separation of physical space - and to associate them with different tasks.

There is something very pleasant to taking a book and a notepad and going someplace without one's phone and simply being alone and quiet and still for a while,
 
2013-03-18 01:13:25 AM
Shrugging Atlas:...
I know the guy's going to get in trouble if he doesn't ask, and I know he thinks it's as absurd as I do.  But man I hate the song and dance.

I worked briefly at a B&N one summer. I got in trouble for not promoting the membership program hard enough. I figured if the person looked like they were in a hurry, why annoy them with a sales pitch? Not the right line of thought, apparently. Looking back, I was a part-timer in a new store who didn't really have a sense of how memberships fit into the corporate strategy. I can understand how a manager trying to feed his kids would be pissed. Still, I knew how much I hated receiving the pitch I was giving and that impacted my interactions with customers. Treating them like fellow human beings was not encouraged. Fortunately I managed to find a better job with more hours so I didn't have to do that anymore. Definitely gave me insight that impacts how I interact with CSRs.
 
2013-03-18 01:31:12 AM
This should tell you a thing or two about how poorly Borders was run.
 
2013-03-18 01:32:15 AM

Shrugging Atlas: I know the guy's going to get in trouble if he doesn't ask, and I know he thinks it's as absurd as I do. But man I hate the song and dance.


As a guy who does that song and dance, you're not the only one that hates it. But, my company has gotten predictable in their cheapness. Secret shoppers report us for not doing the little things, but they only come on weekends at the end of the month (because corporate does payroll and sends out bills on Fridays).

So anytime I work alone at night, I don't do the spiel because corporate can go f*** itself. And the regulars who've figured out my work schedule seem to appreciate being able to get in and out without hassle.
 
2013-03-18 01:45:00 AM

hubiestubert: Well, there's also the fact that those stores have a vested interest in you finding what you want, and even order it for you.


Some will even print a book while you wait.
 
2013-03-18 01:49:09 AM

Shrugging Atlas: I buy books from indy bookstores through Amazon, thus making everyone happy.  Farking Barnes and Noble....

"Do you have our farkity fark savings card?"

"No."  But I know what's coming as I think to myself "Dude, I'm here to pass time with my daughter and I'm just buying a 99 cent kids book for her.  I've also already waited in line five minutes since you're the only cashier and the 80 year old woman two customers ago wrote a farking check as if she was deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls.

"OK, well it can save 10% on this purchase..."

To Myself:  "This is why I shop online."

I know the guy's going to get in trouble if he doesn't ask, and I know he thinks it's as absurd as I do.  But man I hate the song and dance.


You have to practice saying, "no" in a tone that calmly and convincingly conveys, "I'll eat your eyes if you persist."
 
2013-03-18 02:16:13 AM
Kryptonite for attractive and successful...
 
2013-03-18 02:22:15 AM
I really hope the independent bookstores do well. I used to love bookstores.

But I'm sure not investing in one.
 
2013-03-18 03:02:27 AM
I'd like to see more independent bookstores as well. One of the biggest problems with B&N (and even Borders when it was around) is that they typically only stock best sellers and new releases. The mid-list titles are virtually non-existant. They are even stupid about new releases. If book 5 of a series is just released, you would think that they would make an effort to stock the previous four books, but often what I see is one copy of book 3 at best.
Don't get me started on the publishers trend of waiting until the Mass Market paperbacks are sold out to re-release the book in Trade paperback so that they can charge you $15 instead of $9. Even worse is when you start collecting a series in MMP and they release that last book in Trade. That looks great on the bookshelf...
 
2013-03-18 07:21:01 AM
The thing about independent book stores is that new books COST THE farkING SAME as in a big box book store. I find it infuriating that you see "BUY LOCAL" when there is no real difference between going to the local shop and the big box store.
 
2013-03-18 07:50:23 AM

bearcats1983: There is something cool about an indie bookstore; maybe it's just that the big box store feel so sterile and corporate. Last time we were in Chicago for work, I visited a little bookstore in Wrigleyville that had a really great, diverse selection. My wife even allowed an overly long perusal of a new age kama sutra book, so that was nice. Wish I could remember where that place was, I'll have to visit again next time we're in town.


And they're often run by fascinating people. In one of my favorite bookstores in Philly, I was amused to hear the owner and a regular lamenting how badly bound and prone to falling apart Madonna's  Sex was.
 
2013-03-18 08:44:33 AM
My bookstore is contained w/in my Samsung Galaxy Tab.

I'm reading a paper copy of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, but I'm getting through my Clarke Ashton Smith short story collection through Kindle. I've come to prefer the tablet over the paper book. Being flat, lit, light, and able to rest comfortably in one hand are huge plusses for the tab.

The only thing I really miss about real books is the same with CDs and LPs: the cover artwork.
 
2013-03-18 11:54:58 AM
All you have to do is diversify your business.

images.tvrage.com

/Very casual reader...usually pick up books at Ollie's Bargain Outlet (a Northeast chain of Big-Lots type stores that have an oddly large book selection. Usually overstocks of books that were released a year or two ago)
 
2013-03-18 03:35:41 PM

legion_of_doo: Kryptonite for attractive and successful...


Thanks for putting a smile on my face before I go to work

/Reading Neverwhereright now
//Not a sports page...
///Or a magazine...
 
2013-03-19 12:39:55 PM

ModernLuddite: The thing about independent book stores is that new books COST THE farkING SAME as in a big box book store. I find it infuriating that you see "BUY LOCAL" when there is no real difference between going to the local shop and the big box store.


I think you're missing the whole point of "Buy Local" since it's not at all about saving money. It's about keeping money in the community. The local bookstore owner is more likely to spend the profits of the business in the community where it is, as opposed to sending it all off to corporate except for some taxes and minimum wage jobs.

As far as local bookshops go, the best thing about them is usually the used selection. Picking up new books is nice, but finding a complete set of whatever crappy sci-fi series I'm reading this month for a grand total of $20 is the real winner for me. Also, you get the whole "treasure hunt" aspect, looking for long-forgotten editions of classic old tales. Since they're used, it's easier to find out of print titles at discounted prices, as opposed to trying to find a reissue somewhere. Plus, there's nothing quite like in-person advice from a bibliophile about good books. Reviews from strangers on the internet are all well and good, but I can't have a conversation with four stars.

Hot_Sauce: If book 5 of a series is just released, you would think that they would make an effort to stock the previous four books, but often what I see is one copy of book 3 at best.
Don't get me started on the publishers trend of waiting until the Mass Market paperbacks are sold out to re-release the book in Trade paperback so that they can charge you $15 instead of $9. Even worse is when you start collecting a series in MMP and they release that last book in Trade. That looks great on the bookshelf...


This is the worst thing in the world. See also: releasing mass market paperbacks that are suddenly different sizes (I'm looking at you, Dresden Files).
 
2013-03-19 07:12:17 PM

StreetlightInTheGhetto: Happy Hours: hubiestubert: Well, there's also the fact that those stores have a vested interest in you finding what you want, and even order it for you. Amazon is nice and all, but there's the satisfaction of having a book directly in your hot little hands.

Not only that, but I find that browsing for books on Amazon is not nearly as fun or interesting as wandering around a book store and picking something up and flipping through it, reading a few paragraphs here and there - from ANY part of the book you choose and then just buying it.

And while Amazon can deliver things with amazing speed, if you're in a bookstore, you can walk out of there with a book right then and there.

If you've ever found yourself stuck in some unfamiliar town and have nothing to do (maybe you're there for work - who knows?) a bookstore is a great place to kill time.

Dammit, this.

There isn't a independent non-niche new bookstore in my freaking college town anymore.  It sucks.

At least we've got a good library with a decent new selection, I suppose.  And one might be opening.  Sigh.  Right now it's just Barnes and Noble, and their selection sucks.  Their book selection, I mean.  If I want a generic lame gift marginally related to writing or reading I'm set.




No drinks in my libraries. :(

/stealth vape
 
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