Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dueling Bookstore Headlines

Wandering the web for the last few minutes has provided me with a variety of headlines, some of which seem to contradict each other.  This is what I mean:

Independent bookstores in Houston are doing well

Indie Bookstores Aren't Surging Everywhere

Twenty pct. of bookstores closed up shop last year

Customers Save a San Francisco Sci-Fi Bookstore, at Least for Now

Barnes & Noble will spin off college-bookstore business

I'm not sure what to think about the Houston headline because, on the one hand, two or three of the city's indy bookstores do appear to be doing well.  But, on the other hand, part of the problem is that it's only two or three; and I estimate that the number of independent bookstores in this town has dropped by at least fifty-percent in the last five years.  

In fact, the one nearest me just closed up shop last month after its new owners could only afford to keep the doors open for about one year.  And, the topper is that very, very few new bookstores are being opened around here because the financial gamble involved is so large that few people are willing to risk it.

So, the second headline makes some sense, and the third one comes as no great surprise.  The fourth headline, concerning the San Francisco book store being bailed out by its customers, shows just how precarious the continuing existence of independent bookstores really is.  (We're talking a well-established bookstore here, not some newbie.)

And then, there is the inevitable Barnes & Noble headline highlighting one of that company's recent decisions to unburden itself of the college bookstore business.  Seems like B&N, by shedding college bookstores and the Nook business, is trying to get back to the core business that at one time made it such a dominant bookstore chain.

Time, I suppose, will tell which of the headlines are true, which are false.

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