How Bookstores Can Keep Thriving

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According to The New York Times, WND Weekly, and other news sources, brick-and-mortar bookstores remain in trouble. The Borders chain “liquidated its 399 stores” in 2011, and according to Washington Post reporter Brad Plummer, Barnes & Noble now closes 15-20 stores per year. In spring 2014, Liberty Media “[slashed] its stake” in Barnes & Noble, and during 2014, e-reader sales have only dropped. Yet many people say bookstores can continue thriving if they invest in certain ideas and follow specific guidelines.

Feed Cultural Literacy

Bookstores are no longer only about books. Bookstores are “oases” where people “expose [themselves] to new stuff.” For example, Barnes & Noble regularly features story hours for kids and child-friendly activities, such as its recent “Help the Crayons” campaign based on the children’s book The Day the Crayons Quit.

Brad Plummer and other reporters say bookstores must do more of this to stay alive and avoid closing their doors altogether. Plummer suggests rewards programs that offer readers free entry to lectures, self-printing book machines, and comfortable spaces. For example, most B&N locations no longer offer reading chairs to patrons, which can make the stores unattractive.

Be Consistent

Many bookstores aren’t consistent with their merchandise or release dates. For example, at, the release date for a popular book might be listed as October 1, 2014. But when a reader goes to a bookstore on October 5, the book is not there, and the bookseller says it won’t be in for another week. Most bookstores often don’t rotate merchandise or keep customer favorites in stock. This hurts business, but consistency and communication with customers could make a positive turnaround, ensuring avoidance of foreclosure and other consequences.

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