US indie bookstore numbers have increase for the sixth year in a row. The American Booksellers Association (ABA) has recorded an increase in independent bookstore members for the sixth year in a row, adding 48 new members. Indies now number 1712, up from the low of 1401 in 2009. This is good news for authors given the most indie booksellers are driven by a passion for books and a love of reading rather than the financial values which often dominate in big companies and corporations.
Oren Teicher, the ABA CEO, announced the figures during a speech at Book Expo America. He attributed the growth to a number of factors, including:
- Slowing ebook sales (Nielsen reported a 6% drop in unit ebook sales in 2014 as compared to 2013, mostly in nonfiction),
- ‘Buy-local’ movements, and
- Publishers’ willingness to ‘rethink outmoded business practices’.
The ‘buy-local’ movement is also popular in Australia. First initiated by farmers and other food growers and suppliers, it has now spread to many different industries, including books. The Australian Booksellers Association coordinates an annual event called ‘Love Your Bookshop’. It will be held on 8 August this year. The public is asked to vote for their favourite bookshop, nationally and by state. Bookshops also put on special events, even, in some cases, asking their favourite local authors to be stand-in booksellers for a few hours on the day!
I have a number of favourite ‘local’ bookshops, including Abbeys and Kinokuniya and Dymocks George Street in the Sydney CBD, Pages & Pages in Mosman, Berkelouw Books in Mona Vale and Booktopia. Does anyone else have a local bookshop they would like to give a shout out to?