Saturday, November 15, 2008

Post chronicles the struggles of an independent bookstore

An article in this morning's Washington Post chronicles the struggles of Vertigo, an independent bookstore in College Park, Maryland.

Here's a sample of the article by reporter Bob Thompson:

Late last month, Warren and Stewart appealed for help in an e-mail to regular customers and a posting on the store's Web site. "Vertigo books is at risk," it began. "Vote with your dollars now if you value our local economy and this store." They didn't want to be seen as whining or asking for handouts. But they'd also watched what had happened, over the past year, to other independent area stores.

Poof! No Karibu.

Poof! No Olsson's.

Poof! No Candida's or Chapters or A Likely Story -- though Chapters remains on life support, its inventory in storage as it struggles to find a new location.

It's difficult to imagine that an independent bookstore cannot prosper in the Washington D.C. area. Lots of readers, lots of book buyers here. Unfortunately, all those readers are either turning to the chains (Barnes & Noble or Borders) or buying books on line.

Anyone who cares about books has an obligation to support independent bookstores and to help reserve this horrible trend. I give my custom to the chains, but I also support the independents. I loved the Olsson's that was just around the corner from my office and I believe that Politics & Prose in Washington and Murder by the Book in Houston are two of the finest bookstores anywhere.

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