Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Revival of independent bookstores?

Will the Internet kill off chain bookstores and leave the independent sellers to flourish? Matthew Yglesias mulls the possibility.

...what the brick and mortar store has to offer is, increasingly, not practical advantage but a bookstore experience. And though I think the chains actually do deliver a decent experience, they don't really match the better independents and I'm not sure they ever can since part of the experience of a well-liked independent bookstore...

A nice thought, but I'm not sure that an independent bookstore is enough of an anchor for an urban shopping district. The seemingly most successful independent booksellers in the Boston area -- the Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corner and the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square -- are both near larger bookstores (a Barnes and Noble and the university-run Harvard Coop) and movie theaters. Could they attract enough customers if the Internet claims other businesses around them?

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