Over the last few weeks I’ve come across two stories about how the rumors of the death of independent bookstores have been greatly exaggerated.
Bookstores escape from jaws of irrelevance (James Sullivan, Boston Globe)
How independent bookstores thrived in spite of Amazon (Carmen Nobel, Quartz)
Upon further investigation, it turns out at least some of the story behind the new wave of publicity is a local one. Here’s a video about Porter Square Books, one of my local bookstores, and it includes an interview with Harvard Business School faculty Ryan Raffaelli. He is responsible for some well publicized research about the recent resurgence of independent bookstores, and he explains how they are examples of how industries facing shifting business models can adapt by focusing on the “3 C’s” of community, curation, and convening.
Here’s an older article about Raffaelli’s research on independent bookstores and how they serve as excellent examples of “Technology Re-Emergence.”
Technology Re-Emergence: Creating New Value for Old Innovations (Carmen Nobel, Harvard Business School)
Here’s another story from CBS Evening News about the success of independent bookstores during last year’s holiday season.
There are also many stories on YouTube about how other specific independent bookstores are doing well. For example, here’s one about The Last Bookstore in LA.
Of course, I just happened to trip over this 360° Video of Livaria Lello in Portugal that was frequented by J.K. Rowling when she taught English in Porto and is rumored to be the inspiration for the Flourish and Blotts bookstore in the Harry Potter series.
So hooray for independent bookstores, and don’t forget to support your local bookstore this holiday season and beyond!