Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Are independent bookstores gaining popularity once again?
Throughout the past year there has been some buzz among booklovers over the success stories coming out of many newly opened independent bookstores. Independent bookstores, that brand of endangered species that was condemned to death owing to competition from major retail stores and the advent of Amazon, are indeed making a comeback of sorts.
According to the American Booksellers Association, sales from independent bookstores rose by 8 percent during 2012, with dozens of new bookstores opening across the country.
But does all this really translate into an increase in the number of people buying traditional books?
Independent bookstores may be increasing, but are people really reading?
Although we repeatedly hear phrases like "Remember the good days when people actually read," or "Not enough people read these days," it is simply not true, and such statements are based on inaccurate historical assumptions.
According to a 2005 Gallup poll, more people are reading books than at any point in the last five decades.
However, it is no secret that despite the rise in the number of books being read, more and more bookstores have gone out of business.
Even in college towns like Blacksburg, independent bookstores such as the Blacksburg Old and Used Bookstore went out of business owing to the popularity of online shopping and the arrival of e-books.
Now there seems to be new life breathed into independent bookstores, but how much of that success is due to traditional books?
Although it's tempting to assume that traditional books are also making a comeback, unfortunately that is not entirely accurate.
Most newly opened bookstores are now operating as hybrids, and although most of them still primarily sell books, they also have incorporated other products and services, such as selling coffee, bakery items, gifts, wine or whatever it takes to attract people to their store.
These hybrid bookstores are using other products to promote their market share in the American book market by attracting young and old people through various marketing ploys. The renewed emphasis on supporting local business also goes a long way in helping these bookstores sustain themselves and earn a profit.
Perhaps the biggest reason these bookstores can potentially continue to increase their profits, or at the very least sustain them, is because no matter what, nothing beats the experience of going to a bookstore and browsing through shelves and shelves of books. Online shopping makes it convenient, but most book lovers would tell you that browsing through an Internet catalog using your keypad does not compare to the real thing.
During the last year, independent bookstores recaptured a percentage of the market share in their industry and are hoping to continue that trend. With the help of local communities, the enthusiasm of booklovers and novel marketing ploys, there is every indication that we can once again experience what it is like to sit in a dim corner of a bookstore and read.
Weather JournalWarmth next 2 days hits icy wall