Friday, July 22, 2011

One Bookstore Closes, Another Morphs, and a Book is Well-Positioned for Paperback.

This week the story of another bookstore closing, but I'm not going to link you because I don't want to mention the store's name.  In the story, the manager said that printed books would not be around in two years anyway.  It was also mentioned that their landlord was planning to triple their rent.  So really, is the story about the end of books, or about a real estate deal?  Knowing the finances of most bookstores, and how much it costs to move, I'm sure that this store looked at the numbers and could not figure out a way it made sense to move, even if they could finance it.

So why did you have to say it was about the books, and not the cost of the space?

Yesterday's post put me in mind of legendary bookstores that are no more.  I assure you I've been to plenty of them. This week it was announced that the original Books and Company in Dayton, who put the "leg" in legend, at least in the 1980s, was converting to Books a Million's second-hand prototype, 2nd and Charles.  This growing chain plays pretty close to the Half Price Books model.  It turns out that there is already a Half Price in Beavercreek, home of the other Books and Company store in that metro area. More in the Dayton Daily News.

I visited the Books and Company store in 1992, shortly before they sold to Books a Million.  I remember the year because the trip was in conjunction with a visit to Columbus's Ameriflora exhibition. It was one of those stores that was large, enthusiastic, and bustling with events. You have to figure it was one of the role models for the rollout of the big box stores of the time.


How about something about actual books?  Working with a book club on Wednesday, I was struck by the group's enthusiasm for The Hare with Amber Eyes, the biography of the Ephrussis family, an influential European family in the finance world, done in by World War II, with the story sparked by their collection of Netsuke.  Previous to this, our customer Peter told me this was his favorite book of last year, and this had been seconded by several other customers.  The paperback releases August 2.

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