Monday, August 2, 2010

Doom and gloom for independent bookstores? Not in New York!

Last Thursday we were all doom and gloom about Independent stores and called them to prepare a war plan. Well, it looks like there's at least one place where the sun shines over independent bookstores. It's called New York.

Yes, in the Big Apple, one of the meccas of independent bookstores, things seem to work much better for indie bookstores according to New York Magazine. In a special feature about New York City indie bookstores, entitled "Indie Bookstores Rising" New York Magazine is presenting what they call "an indie-bookstore renaissance," with new bookstores like Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore (see photo above), Williamsburg’s Book Thug Nation, Dyker Heights’s Boulevard Books, and Mast on the Lower East Side, among others

What makes NY different from all other places? New York Magazine explains:

"Contributing to the resurgence is the local-is-better ethos, which has bled over from the culinary and fashion worlds, causing readers to crave a more human-scale shopping experience. And the specter of a world without indie bookshops has inspired a new, perhaps quixotic generation of entrepreneurs to jump in. The new booksellers bring a modern approach to the business: In place of the dusty riots of yore are more curated, well-lit shops that emphasize personal service and community—book clubs, readings, charity projects, and even the occasional lit-geek basketball league."

So what we see here is a blend of readers with local preference and stores that provides unique added value to their customers. Combine these elements with strong communities and a large market of readers and you've got a success story called New York.

Can it work in other cities as well? I wish I could say Yes for sure, but it seems to me that the Big Apple is a unique place and in other places indie bookstores will have to work very hard to create such an indie-bookstore renaissance.

Here are some of the interesting pieces you can find on this interesting feature:

Book-o-nomics: Maybe the most interesting part, as it reveals how much money a bookshop makes. In this case it's Greenlight Bookstore that shows how it turns an average monthly profit of $11,706.27. Kudos to Greenlight Bookstore for their radical transparency!

Cover to Cover - The new (and renewed) guard of independent bookstores in the city.

Where the Pros Go - New York authors’ favorite indies. Colum McCann, for example, can't pick just one: “If I had to choose from Housing Works, the Corner Bookstore, Crawford Doyle, Three Lives, 192 Books, or the Strand, I’d pick them all. I’d smash them together and give all the books a chance to flirt in a new neighborhood.”

Bound for Your Bedstand - Booksellers recommend their most eagerly anticipated titles. For example, David Franklin of Strand Book Store (our partner!) Pick is: Salman Rushdie, Luka and the Fire of Life (Nov. 16). “All of Rushdie’s work has an aspect of fantasy—this one goes a little further.”

Got Any Buddhist Police Procedurals? - In a city of enthusiasts, there’s a bookshop for every taste.

Seller’s Market - What used bookstores (and eBay customers) will fork over for three previously loved titles.

Raz @ Eco-Libris
Eco-Libris: Promoting   sustainable reading!