Survival Strategies for Booksellers


Friday, March 25, 2011

In the 1990s, independent bookstores were being put out of business by mega-chains. Now the chain bookstores are struggling: Borders filed for bankruptcy, and Barnes & Noble stock dropped 50% in the last month. With Amazon selling more Kindle books than any other format, the age of the eBook is finally upon us, and no brick and mortar bookstore is really safe. Studio 360’s Eric Molinsky looked into how some independent bookstores plan to survive.

    Music Playlist
  1. Books are Cocktails
    Artist: George Fenton
    Album: You've Got M@il: The Original Motion Picture Score
    Label: Varese Sarabande
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. Piano Concerto in F
    Composer: Bach
    Artist: Clara Haskil, Ferenc Friscay, Berliner Philharmonic
    Album: Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 - Bach: Piano Concerto in F Minor
    Label: Discover Classical Music
    Purchase: Amazon
  3. Air On The G String Piano Solo
    Composer: Bach
    Artist: Audiomagic Music Studios
    Album: Audiomagic's Royalty Free Production Music Library 1
    Label: Time Machine Records
    Purchase: Amazon


Eric Molinsky

Comments [23]

Hi Charlotte,

Wow! Glad to see the music used in this story has impressed our listeners so much. The two piano pieces are:

Piano Concerto in F (Bach), from the album "Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 - Bach: Piano Concerto in F Minor"


Air On The G String Piano Solo (Bach), from the album "Audiomagic's Royalty Free Production Music Library 1"

Apr. 25 2011 01:22 PM
charlotte baltimore from Baltimore MD

I also want to know the name of the piano piece in the background to this story, it is lovely!

Apr. 24 2011 06:39 PM
Jordan from Asheville, NC

I don't mind the idea of eBooks but that is just not how I buy books. I mainly peruse thrift stores and other second hand bookstores for my books. I've added some pretty impressive volumes to my collection this way.

Apr. 06 2011 10:19 AM
Michael from Studio 360

@Robert: I hope you're not too dispirited! Our arts & culture beat includes books, but also television, movies, music, and theater. The Amazon store lets us highlight books written by some of our guests, without excluding the cultural contributions of others.

When we started selling our own book, "Spark," earlier this year, we tried to be as equitable as possible: it's available in brick-and-mortar bookstores, and on our website, we provide online availability at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound:

Apr. 04 2011 12:43 PM
Robert from NYC

Well, we know where Studio 360 does its shopping: When I clicked on the link for Christopher Alexander's _A Pattern Language_, I was taken to

Kind of dispiriting. I had always thought of Kurt Andersen as an indie bookshop kind of guy.

Apr. 03 2011 01:56 PM
Linda from Oswego New York

I really am not fond of E-books.
But I can see how they could really be helpful to university students. It would be easier on the arms and back to be able to download all of your textbooks to one "reader" and then have only that reader to carry about to classes.

Apr. 03 2011 12:25 PM
Gloria from San Fernando Valley

None of the above. Your survey is severly limited. It is quite flawed. I purchase books - a lot of them - from my library. (I consider it important to support my library) , from remainder sellers and from used book stores. FYI I am just creating my first eBook...

Apr. 03 2011 10:26 AM
ruth from Central Jersey

Since you don't specify used or new--
and online is so helpful when needing to save by ordering used textbooks, used books in general, and out of print books, our visits to physical stores, the local Indy store (a chain of 2, hours apart), and the handy chain store are split and add up to less.

Piling onto my shelves are many fascinating books picked up for $1-5 at our local library.

Apr. 01 2011 08:26 PM
Bryan from St. Paul

I cannot imagine ever purchasing an e-book. I downloaded one once from the library in an emergency. But physical books are not that expensive, and I want to see them when I pass my shelves.

Mar. 28 2011 07:36 PM
Gary Piserchio from Denver

You can buy ALL of your books online and still shop local. Have you gone to your local indie bookshop's website lately and checked? We're a tiny bookshop in Denver and we offer over 2.6 million paper books and we offer Google ebooks through our website ( And, yes, you can read Google ebooks on your Kindle (just Google it, there's freeware aplenty for easy conversion).

Of course, if you really love sending all of your money to Amazon instead of keeping money in your own community, then never mind. But you really DO NOT need to use Amazon to buy your books. Shop indie online with just as many paper books (and possibly more ebooks, thanks to Google).

Support local, support indie. It's easy.

Mar. 28 2011 12:18 PM
miku from NYC

So. why do e-books cost so~ much!!!

Mar. 28 2011 06:44 AM
Dianem from Santa Monica

I love books, am a Community College English prof, and am working with a small publisher to bring our amazing new line of digital Shakespeare and Twain to the public.

Mar. 27 2011 08:31 PM
carolita from manhattan

BTW - I think I've bought and read 200% more books since owning a Kindle and using the Kindle app on my iPhone -- 165 books last year alone, I think. I've never read so much in my life, except for when I was reading for research purposes in university.

Mar. 27 2011 11:51 AM
carolita from manhattan

I buy 90% of my books at the Kindle bookstore online at The rest I buy, when unavailable on Kindle, in "real" book form also from amazon, but also from The Strand, or in that lovely bookstore in Grand Central Station, (Posman?)because they often have very nice editions, with beautiful covers. It's telling that I don't remember the name of that store, isn't it? The fact of the matter is, I don't need the extra weight of a "real" book in my handbag. My back was killing me when I carried "real" books around. And full disclosure: I've always wanted a tablet reader, ever since seeing something like it on The Martian Chronicles series on TV back in the 70s. I'm a gadget person. The only reason I buy a "real" book is a) it's unavailable in e-format, or b) the cover art is so desirable that I must have it in my home.

Mar. 27 2011 11:47 AM
Michael from Studio 360

Thanks, Stephen! Glad you liked the story. We used two piano pieces to score it:

Piano Concerto in F (Bach), from the album "Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 - Bach: Piano Concerto in F Minor"


Air On The G String Piano Solo (Bach), from the album "Audiomagic's Royalty Free Production Music Library 1"

Mar. 27 2011 08:48 AM

I read a lot, and would go broke if I bought all my books. I mostly use the library, but when I buy books I often buy from a local independent book store. I like the atmosphere, but I also like that they pay property taxes that fund our schools, while online retailers like Amazon don't. I'm starting to read more & more ebooks on my iPhone. I like the idea of being able to buy them from local retailers through Google, but I haven't quite figured it out yet.

Mar. 27 2011 03:59 AM
Stephen from NYC

Loved the segment. Could someone please tell me the name of the piano piece used in the background?

Mar. 27 2011 12:45 AM
Michelle from NYC

While the physical book publishing seems to be dwindling, I still prefer to buy my occasional book from a store. And get it a cheaply as possible. I do not own an iPad or Kindle. I am a voracious reader and am more worried about what is going to happen to libraries and their circulation. With the deterioration of the economy, I cannot afford to buy books anymore and I have seen the rise of dependence on libraries. The library has taken over as my community meeting place over cafes in bookstores.

Mar. 26 2011 04:53 PM
treb kieltz from Austin, Texas

IPad is excellent toy, I'm picking on it cuz it's pricey. I see rich kids doing everything w it but read books. I mean real books, not family guy spins or earth: the book. I still love ya john Stewart. Kindle is cool. I suppose. Have you ever moved? If you got as many books as I do its crazy to move w them.

Mar. 26 2011 02:59 PM
yvonne from sutton, nh

Those are valid reasons for doing what those persons choose to do. It is way too easy for me to press the purchase button at Amazon - so unless it's a fabulous buy of a used book I ALWAYS order from BookEnds. (As local as possible in rural NH.)

Mar. 26 2011 01:52 PM
Miku from NYC

Yeah, I my pretty much downloading my books on my Ipad now. I love it, and I can take all my books with me anywhere. But I still go to Kinokumiya book store and browse through books and checkout people (^_<)

Mar. 26 2011 01:06 PM
sumukha from short hills, nj

I am always looking for interesting book on subjects that interests me. not much of a fiction person. and every time i get recommendation from friends, family or other sources, i try to get it from my local public library and if it is a book that i would want for my collection, i buy it online. better, price, more section, very convenient. and there is no chance of spur of a moment purchase here. I keep these books on wish list for as long as possible and buy only if i really really want to.

Mar. 26 2011 09:24 AM
Mark from TX


Mar. 25 2011 09:49 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.