Wednesday, December 5, 2012

'Tis the Season to Shop at Independent Bookstores

The holiday shopping season is well underway. Independent bookstores hope that consumers will skip the chains and spend money at their establishments instead.

Greenlight and other indie bookstores hope to see a boom in business this holiday season. Photo via

Fortunately, that's already happening at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Steve Bercu, owner of BookPeople, told NPR, "People choose to come to this store to do their Christmas shopping. It doesn't have the overwhelming intensity of a shopping mall. It's a single store." And what do people tend to buy at independent bookstores this time of year? Hardcovers.

"The holidays, Bercu adds, are definitely the season for hardcovers," reported NPR. "Any other time of year, you might settle for a paperback or prefer the convenience of an e-book. But at this time of year, customers are looking for something special for someone special."

That "something special" tends to be elegant coffee-table books filled with photographs or artwork. Or they're cookbooks, according to Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "And I don't mean cheap cookbooks," he told NPR. "A $60 cookbook will fly off the shelves." But he's doubtful people actually use these cookbooks. "People buy the book to have the book, to show off the book, to enjoy the book," he said.

Enjoyment of an exquisite hardcover book is what Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, a founder of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, hopes to foster with the First Editions Club. "It works a little like a wine of the month club," she explained to NPR. "You sign up for a six-month or twelve-month subscription, and then the booksellers at Greenlight will select new titles - fiction or nonfiction - that they think are great and might be valuable in the long term. And subscribers get a first edition of that book signed by the author."

Whatever will draw more shoppers to small bookstores, I'm all for it. This holiday season, support independents like BookPeople, Boswell, and Greenlight!

To read the full NPR article "Independent Bookstores Find Their Footing," go HERE.

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