It was well presented article. I have shopped, or at least browsed, in all of those Toronto stores.
The reality is bookstores need to figure out a new economic paradigm and, as bookstores have slowly evaporated over the past thirty years, very very few seem to have figured out what makes a good long-term business case. One of our iconic booksellers, Albert Britnell at Yonge and Collier, is a Starbucks. One wonders if they'd still be selling books today if they'd started to sell lattes as well as Man Booker winners.
Here's a hint: a Toronto "Antiquarian dealer", David Mason, stated recently: "It's easier to sell a book for $2,000 than $20".
Bookstores need to become literary "destinations" where you can meet authors, find unusual one-offs (signed editions), specialized paper collections, a global community tied to your specialty, and partnerships where that makes sense. But, clearly, the old way of doing business makes no sense.
In the 1930s, you could find a sheet music store in every neighbourhood because every household aspired to owning a piano. Now, not so much. (In fact, try to find sheet music anywhere except the local music conservatory, if you are lucky enough to have one.)
Evolve, or die.
The public did not stop listening to (or making) music. The public will have a thirst and hunger for reading "long form" content in perpetuity. The challenge is to re-tool the business model to meet those needs.
Last edited by SensualPoet; 07-08-2010 at 09:51 PM.