Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Evolving Bookstore, and a Giveaway

Hi everyone! I'm Jess Faraday, and I'm here promoting my new book, Turnbull House. Turnbull House is a mystery set in London in 1891. It's the second of my Ira Adler mysteries published by Bold Strokes Books, and has been getting some terrific reviews. I'm going to be giving away a .pdf copy of Turnbull House at the end, so keep reading for details!

The Evolving Bookstore

My favorite bookstore is closing. It was a small, independently-owned mystery bookstore that had stood in its same location for twenty-four years. But more than a bookstore, it was a center of community, hosting weekly author events, popping up at conferences and festivals, and providing a home for reading and writing groups—as well as a place to hang out. Its demise wasn’t as cruel as it could have been. The owners wanted to retire—it was a closing rather than a going-out-of-business. But bookstores are closing their doors everywhere, and whether you blame online sales, intellectual decline, or the economy, it’s leaving an undeniable cultural hole.

But where many mourn the shuttering of the traditional bookstore, others are finding opportunities to do business in a different way.

Pop-up Stores and Facilities Sharing

One of the biggest problems faced by small businesses is the cost of facilities. It’s almost impossible to compete with online retailers who have not only seemingly limitless stock, but also don’t have to maintain a physical presence. One of our local bookstores has addressed this problem in an innovative way—by sharing facilities with another merchant. For part of the year, the building hosts a bookstore. But in the autumn, the books are locked away, and the facilities are taken over by a pop-up Halloween supply store. This allows both stores to save on facilities costs, making the cost of operation much lower.

Used and Discount Books

While physical stores carrying new books are on the decline, bookstores specializing in used books and factory seconds can be very successful. Used books and new books that are a bit past their release date cost less than new releases—sometimes they cost nothing at all. This allows retailers to sell them for a lower price—which encourages people to buy more.

Specialty/Mixed Use Stores

One of our city’s last remaining independent new-book bookstores does a brisk business—not only in books, but in stationery, t-shirts, handbags, writing-themed trinkets, and its cafĂ©. It hosts a variety of author and community events, classes, and lectures, and has carved out a niche as not just someplace to buy books, but a destination in itself.

The physical bookstore may be in noticeable decline, but it’s incorrect to say that it’s going extinct. Bookstores will survive, but they will have to evolve in different ways—make themselves indispensible parts of the community over and above the role of purveyors of reading material.

How are bookstores changing in your community? What do you think it would take to be a successful bookseller in your area?

Please leave me a comment with your thoughts and ideas. One lucky commenter will receive a .pdf copy of  my latest novel, Turnbull House.

Best Regards,
Jess Faraday


Catherine Lee said...

I'm so lucky to have several small, independent bookstores in my town...and a nice Barnes & Noble that is a wonderful community partner. I think it's tougher for bookstores to make it these days.

Jess Faraday said...

Hi Catherine, and congratulations! You've won a .pdf copy of my new book, Turnbull House. Please email me for details: jessfaraday-at-hotmail