Driving around your community, you may have noticed that many bookstores, including chains, have shut down. There might be a few independently owned stores scattered around managing to remain active, while dealing with a global pandemic. Well, things might start to change because according to a Publishers Weekly report from Aug. 17, U.S. bookstore sales rose 30.3% in June from the previous year.
Similar to other small businesses, bookstores have been encouraged or forced to focus more on online sales as people prefer to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The same pandemic that forced people to stay home, having to figure out what to do with their free time, seems to also have motivated them to buy and read books. An L.A. Times article from today explains that “it’s still been a rocky 18 months for U.S. publishers, whose jobs are defined by predictability: they work on months-long publishing schedules, orchestrate book tours and promotional plans and calibrate printings based on expectations.”
Independent bookstores, unlike massive corporations like Amazon, are more in touch with the demands of their community. The books sold there reflect the interests of the people who work there and have more potential to expose customers to reading material they might not find elsewhere. They also organize events such as book clubs, book signings and Q&A’s with authors, experiences that most corporations aren’t interested in offering.
A Forbes article that was published today reports that new stores are still opening as older ones are closing their doors. The article mentions a few stores like; Urban Reader Bookstore in Charlotte, North Carolina, the only Black-owned bookstore in the city. The owners of the new Joy and Matt’s bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio said that they are excited to take the challenge and provide a new space for discovery. Other stores, like the iconic Book Revue, in Huntington, New York are facing eviction at the end of September over unpaid rent