In 1995 the number of independent booksellers in the USA reached its peak, however, Amazon.com also launched that year. Predictions of the death of independent bookstores were made worldwide and seemed to be truthful, even more so following the release of the Kindle and other eBooks in 2007. Yet between 2009 and 2015 the number of independent bookstores across the USA grew by 35%, from 1,651 stores to 2,227.
So, how did they do it? Ryan Raffaelli, Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School, puts this down to booksellers ability to reinvent and redefine the bookstore.
A specialist in Organisational Behaviour, Raffaelli has spent the past five years studying independent bookstores through the lens of an Ethnographer. He has interviewed over 200 sellers, collected every article about independent bookstores published in major newspapers since 1995, and has even attended a training course on how to open a bookstore.
His research is set to be published in 2018, but he has released his ‘Three C’s’ already:
Community: The promotion of the idea of ‘localism.’
Curate: Introducing readers to up and coming authors, tailored to their interests and concerns.
Convene: Hosting events such as author talks and children’s reading groups.
How Independent Bookstores Have Thrived in Spite of Amazon.com, Working Knowledge
Ryan Raffaelli, Twitter
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