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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

As e-books rise, smaller book stores are still growing

Gigi Douban May 29, 2013
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Today booksellers and publishers will be in New York City for BookExpo America to discuss the latest developments in the industry. Amazon and Apple rocked the bookselling world, but the biggest casualties have been large chain retailers. Barnes & Noble is looking to close more stores. Borders is gone. But independent retailers are not buckling under the pressure.

They’ve learned that it’s either change things up or get eaten alive.

“We’re figuring it out,” says Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. “Stores are reinventing themselves and responding to change. And we’re fighting back.”

Teicher says since 2009, more than 300 independent bookstores have opened, and store sales were up by 8 percent last year.

“There are existing stores that are opening second and third locations,” he adds.  

But how is that possible? Teicher says bookstores are using new digital tools. They offer e-books in the store, and sell hardcopies of books online. 

Michael Norris, senior analyst with Simba Information, says it’s about keeping those diehard customers close.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a book seller right now that isn’t using Facebook, isn’t using some other kind of social media site,” Norris says.

But what’s mostly keeping independent bookstores afloat? The buy local movement and a good personal recommendation.

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