Thursday, February 28, 2019

Washington Post explores the business unexpected success of independent bookstores in DC area and country

Fritz Hahn offers an article in a “from the cover” series on p. 15 of the Washington Post Weekend magazine from Friday, February 21, 2019, “That old stack magic: The indomitable – and the new – indie bookstores.”  

The article examines at least eight independent bookstores in or near Washington DC.  They are flourishing as community centers despite the low cost competition from Amazon.

What is striking is that some of them are niche bookstores, as for African American readers and authors in some cases.  Lambda Rising used to be a thriving chain for the LGBT community but it gradually disintegrated because of low cost competition from Amazon (after 2009).  But in the 1990s it was a good place for readings and debates on topics like gays in the military (Joe Steffan had a booksigning at the DC Connecticut Ave. store in Sept. 1992). Maybe they got out too early.

I’ve been approached about the idea of buying quantities of my own books and dealing with independent bookstores.  Because my most recent book is now five years old, I have been reluctant;  most stores will do readings only for books in their first year of publication. This idea will become important for my novel “Angel’s Brother” and I will work the local bookstore idea on that.

A possibility would be to encourage independent bookstores to advertise on my Facebook page (FB has suggested allowing them administrator access, which I don’t quite understand and which sounds risky, given the recent purges).

There has been an increase of 35% in independent bookstores in the United States since 2009.

Picture: One More Page Books, East Falls Church, VA.

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