We’re always going on about the unique virtues and contributions of Independent Bookstores: how socially responsible we are, how community-based we are, how committed to books and literacy, tradition and innovation and on and on. True, if we weren’t around anymore—perish the thought—our customers would be without a major cultural resource, without a convivial, if sober, gathering place, without readings and literary events and the rest. Of course. But do we ever talk about the unique problems we present for those same communities? Do we?
Nobody ever talks about the very real dangers presented by all this choice, this wide selection of titles, the possibility of being helped nearly to death by customer service. Worth thinking about.
Here then three problems unique to Independent Bookstores and the people that love us. I’ve pulled these three at random, but as we all know, there are so many, many more.