Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Have Independent Bookstores Found Their Footing?

NPR investigates.

From the story...

Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee agrees that e-books are no threat to the Christmas dominance of coffee-table books. But Goldin says art and photography volumes actually aren't doing that well at his store this year. This holiday season, Goldin says, cookbooks are the new black. "And I don't mean cheap cookbooks," he says. No one wants to spend $60 on an art book — but a $60 cookbook will fly off the shelves.

"We know people aren't particularly cooking out of those books," Goldin says, "so it's the equivalent experience. It's people buy the book to have the book, to show off the book, to enjoy the book, to be enraptured by the book," but only maybe to make one of the recipes.

Some hardcover books require a harder sell, Goldin continues. Customers have to be persuaded that a bound book has a value that can't be found in an e-book. "I think the key is to convince them that this is one that's a keeper," he says. "We're seeing some wonderful, physical books, especially in hardcover, that are just beautiful, and we'll make a case for that. We'll kind of have a customer weigh a book, put it in their hands, and say, 'Look at the quality of this paper ... that book won't be yellowed, and it won't be brittle. That book will look great in 10, 20 years.' "

"I think the smarter publishers are realizing that the way the physical book matters is in the design of it," says Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, one of the founders of Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore.

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