Don’t count the independents out yet. The big box one-two combo has sent them into the ropes, but someone just helicoptered Survivor in to play some background music for an unorthadox training montage. Pound that side of beef, booksellers of America! Yet another article with something positive to say about the indie trend in bookselling. It’s like a break in the clouds and a puff of warm air here in the sunless, frozen town of literary endeavour. And it’s even illustrated with a picture of Safran Foer, who’s really a decent guy and writer (I don’t care what you say) and just cute as a button!
The trade group for independents reported 115 new members last year, the third year in a row that more than 100 openings were recorded.
There’s still a long way to go from the halcyon days of the corner bookshop. In 1992, the ABA had 4,700 members; today, it numbers 1,900.
Many reasons are cited for the decline — rapid growth of the big bookstore chains, the deep discount sales of books at major retailers, the popularity of online purchasing and the general impression that Americans don’t read books anymore.
Yet, even that factor seems in dispute as recent sales figures for last year show a slight increase in book sales over 2006 — 7.4 percent — despite a drop in December, apparently a bad month for the retail trade all around.