One of my local indie bookstores is going out of business at the end of this month. Well, actually, it's not technically one of my local bookstores. It's a family-owned-and-run shop two towns over from where I live. But it's the closest indie to my house, so I'm claiming it. At least, until the end of the month, when it won't be there anymore.
This makes me sad.
I asked the owners what made it impossible for them to stay open, and they cited the upsurge in e-reading, as well as the opening of a big-chain bookstore in the same town. With a dwindling customer base, they just couldn't keep up with rising rent costs.
Contrast this with the picture of big-chain bookstore BORDERS' bankruptcy and we have an interesting picture. Will the big chains, now pushing out the smaller mom-and-pops in some cities while going out of business in others, last much longer anyway? Are print books going the way of the video casette tape? Will bookstores become nothing more than a shopfront where customers can leaf through sample titles before downloading e-books, while sipping lattes and letting the kids run wild in the ever-expanding toy sections? Will the indie bookstores make a comeback? Or will all those bookstores be bulldozed to make way for condos?
What do you think?