Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, Pa., will add a second store in Peddler’s Village
later this month.
The news from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is particularly strong.
“Last year we added 23 stores,” assistant executive director Linda-Marie Barrett says,
in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, with Avid Bookshop
in Athens, Ga., and Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla., each adding new locations.
“We still feel like we’re riding a pretty decent wave of positivity,” says Brian Juenemann,
executive director of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA). The region
continues to attract prospective booksellers and has seen the openings of new stores to
replace closed ones, like Brick & Mortar Books at Redmond Town Center in Redmond,
Wash., which was previously home to a popular Borders. Further down the coast, Andrea
Vuleta, executive director of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association
(SCIBA), says that her area will have added three new bookstores between July and
October: two nonprofits, Café Con Libros Press in Pomona and 1888 Center in Orange,
and Now Serving, a cookbook store and restaurant in Los Angeles.
Carrie Obry, executive director of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association
(MIBA), is encouraged by the number of calls she receives from small-town mayors
who want to revitalize their downtowns with bookstores. She’s also excited by stores
like 10-year-old Tribeca GalleryCafé & Books in Watertown, Wisc., which will open
a second location at Freshwater Plaza in Milwaukee. “I think the narrative [about
indies disappearing] is changing,” says Deb Leonard, executive director of the Great
Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA). “For the last few years we have
gotten between 10 and 15 new members.”
While the number of stores has been growing, sales for the first six months of 2017
have held steady, with preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau last month
indicating a 0.2% rise from the same time period in 2016. “We are up a little,” says
Calvin Crosby, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers
Association (NCIBA). “We match that national average.” In part, Crosby attributes
flat sales to the growing political divide in the country. In Southern California, Vuleta
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Sales rep Melissa Weisberg staffs the Macmillan booth at the 2016 Heartland Fall Forum in Minneapolis.