I went to the DC area to visit family for Chinese New Year celebrations. We went on a side trip to Inner Harbor at Baltimore, MD. While they explored the ships and aquarium, I had a grand time checking out the Barnes and Noble there.
Have you ever been there? I believe the old style big book stores are going away, especially with Borders heading for bankruptcy. BN is closing some of its buildings and concentration on their online presence, especially now that its Nook and self-publishing division, Pubit, are becoming more popular with consumers.
Personally, I do think that, in spite of the rising popularity of ebooks, there is still hope for bookstores, especially new-and-used independents that had been going through some tough years. There are still readers who love browsing for paperbacks and used books; also, many still love the fact that, unlike ebooks, which aren't transferable, their books are actually theirs to resell and exchanged, if they wanted.
My friend's new-and-used bookstore is doing well. Although the majority of her readers are older (being in the Sunshine State), she's seeing an influx of younger readers, those who had graduated from Harry Potter and Twilight, looking for new YA books. One of the ways I help my friend is to introduce her to new authors from books I've gotten from RWA, so she could order the ones she feels her readers would enjoy. I'm surprised and happy at the new younger readers and during my convention visits, I shall look for YA books for them.
My friend has always encouraged me to open a similar bookstore like hers for my retirement (yeah, rooferauthor here is getting old) and I've always resisted because of my schedule and also seeing so many small bookstores going out of business. However, I'm beginning to think that there is a way to make a living with a new-and-used independent bookstore, with the right location and small overhead.
Many readers don't hoard books like I do (at least, that's how I see it, from looking at my friend's customers); they buy new books and return them for credit to get the back list of authors they enjoy. One thing that doesn't change, though--they're all avid readers. They drop by at the store with one or two loads of books and leave with that many. Now that there are younger readers doing the same, there's hope for the business!
So maybe one day, and it's not as far off as I'd like, you'll find the rooferauthor is now rooferbookstoreownerauthor. :-P As some of you know, I'm a packrat, with multiples of many favorite things. It'll be interesting to see how hard it is to part with some of my collection!
Do you have a historic or interesting book store (BN or independent) in your area? Any bookstore owners out there?
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