Tag: bookstore

Indie Bookstores Are Back After Decades of Decline

The history of bookstores has been far bleaker than readers might have hoped. The end began in 2011 with the closure of Borders, a bookselling giant responsible for the death of many a local bookstore. Borders’ attempts at resurgence were numerous and failed, culminating in their disastrous launch of the Kobo: an e-reader with no internet. Other chains were soon to follow. Book World, the leading book retailer of the Midwest, closed its doors in 2017. Barnes & Noble hasn’t yet taken a tumble… but it has taken quite the hit. The retailer plans to close 167 stores by 2022, leaving swaths of the country—even highly populated areas—without large chain bookstores. Although Washington D.C. spends more money on readingthan anywhere else in the United States, the District lost its last B&N back in 2015.


Image Via Pennlive.com


Chain bookstores were once the destroyers of indie bookshops. With their resources and massive retail spaces (which usually housed cutting-edge merchandise like alphabetical CD collections) it was challenging for the smaller local store to compete. After the recession, this dynamic reversed. Over the past eight years, the number of indie bookstores has increased by 25% while the larger retailers have faltered.


Image Via Money.howstuffworks.com


The explanation might be as complicated as it is simple: people have decided that they like to read books. That can be the only explanation when technological innovations have failed—the Kobo was an obvious disaster, and, while Barnes & Noble’s Nook helped it from meeting Borders’ fate, it hasn’t saves its clear decline in sales. It’s also possible that indie bookstores can appeal to niche markets-in particular, LGBT+ bookstores are able to cater directly to their clientele. These stores provide more than just retail: they also offer a sense of community that Amazon cannot.


Image Via Pride.com


“Independent bookshops are important because we’re a refuge, and we’re dead against everything becoming the same,” said Daniel Ross, proprietor of Bristol bookstore Storysmith. The UK in particular has experienced a resurgence of the indie bookstore. Since 1995, the number of independent bookstores has declined from 1,894 to a mere 867. In 2017, the decline plateaued, the number of stores increasing by one. And just a year later, the number spiked for the first time in over twenty years to reach 883.

While the number of indie bookstores hasn’t reached its 80s peak, the comeback is a sign of an even greater resurgence. It demonstrates that while big bookstores can’t hold up to Amazon’s onslaught, neighborhood bookstores can—and that means they likely will.

Featured Image Via Nextpittsburgh.com

The Famous Westsider Bookstore Is Officially Closing Its Doors

It’s always sad when a bookstore announces its closing, but it’s even sadder when that bookstore has been dubbed “the last used bookstore on the Upper West Side.”


Westsider Rare & Used Books, located at 2246 Broadway between 80th and 81st Street in New York City, announced today that it would be officially closing for good. The announcement was made on the company’s Facebook page along with a 30% off “Everything Must Go” sale.


Image Via Shopikon


The store’s current owner, Dorian Thornley, said that the store would most likely close at the end of February and that declining sales and competition from other sellers are the reason for the closure.


“We just can’t make it anymore. It’s the end of an era.”


Westsider Books has become a staple of the NYC bookstore scene since it opened in 1984. The store also sells used CDs, DVDs, and old records, with one of the employees saying that “You could get a lot of things here you couldn’t get elsewhere, and at a lower price.” Westsider has also been featured in three movies: Woody Allen’s Fading Gigolo, Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, and most recently the Melissa McCarthy drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?.


Make sure you stop on by and pick up some good reads before it’s too late.



Featured Image Via Yelp

Lin-Manuel Miranda Saves a Popular Drama Book Shop from Closing

The star of Mary Poppins Returns is once again showing his love for the performing arts. The New York Times has reported that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the actor and playwright who brought us In The Heights and Hamilton: An American Musical, has just purchased The Drama Book Shop in order to save it from closing. Could he be anymore awesome?




Miranda now co-owns the bookstore along with Thomas Kail the director of Hamilton, James L. Nederlander president of the Nederlander Organization, the owner of the theater that the show is currently performing in, and Jeffrey Seller, the show’s producer.


The bookstore is a popular venue amongst playwrights like Miranda himself. In an interview with the Times, Miranda said that he frequented the bookshop in his early years:


“When I was in high school I would go to the old location and sit on the floor and read plays — I didn’t have the money to buy them. After college Tommy Kail and I met in the Drama Book Shop basement, and I wrote a good deal of ‘In the Heights’ there.”


The century-old store, located on 250 West 40th Street, will go into storage on January 20th and will reopen in a new location that is currently unknown, the company’s website stated. No matter the location, we are ready to read.



Featured Image Via The New York Times

McNally Jackson Bookstore

Iconic McNally Jackson Books to Stay at Its Little Italy Location

McNally Jackson Books is here to stay! The Little Italy bookstore was almost forced out due to rent increases and was expected to move to a new location in June. Fortunately, plans have changed.


A leasing banner was hung from McNally Jackson’s entrance only three months ago and it looked as though the bookstore’s fourteen-year-long stay was coming to an end. It was just last week that customers learned of the store’s new plans to remain at its Prince Street location. Bowery Boogie even confirmed the news with an employee.



McNally Jackson Books

Image via McNally Jackson Books



Sarah McNally originally opened the store in 2004 as part of her family’s McNally Robinson chain. It later became an independent shop when she partnered with her husband and now has a cafe and in-house printing press among its many attractions.





Featured Image via Strohl