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Old 06-30-2020, 11:41 AM   #130
John F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Yes, it depends on the definition.
But we are talking about B&N, so:

How many of those are full, new release and backlist commercial book stores?
How many are newstands and airport shops?
How many are rare book or used paperback shops?
How many are college stores?
How many are religious stores?
How many are art supply stores or gift shops?

If you're going by the ABA listings, they include all of the above.

As I recently saw somebody point out on the same topic: how many of those are likely to carry Harry Potter? Patterson? Tolkien?

Speaking of the ABA:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amer...rs_Association



Being generous and allowing for gift shops, art supply stores, etc, they can claim maybe 2500 locations. That is half their peak in 1995. Back then, the US had 263M population vs 333M today. So half the stores have gone away over one generation, while population grew by about a quarter.

Mainstream bookstores are maybe half the claimed number.

For contrast, there are 10,000 different sales tax jurisdictions which are a good enough proxy for number of total population centers/communities, no?

https://taxfoundation.org/state-sale...pproach-10000/

Or, you could go with the number of metropolitan areas of over 50,000 population. That is 500. Those smaller cities might be lucky to have one real bookstore.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List...es_urban_areas

Either way, considering how bookstores are concentrated in big metro areas, Daunt is correct, the US is "underbookstored". As he sees it.

But that is because people are spread out all over: the US ranks 177th in population density at 100 people per square mile versus the UK he is familiar with, at 51, and 726.

That is because 85% of the population in the top metro areas (>1M) resides in the suburbs and exurbs, not the city centers. And then there's the other 450 metro areas and the smaller towns and cities.

So yes, if you have in the bigger coastal cities you probably have no shortage of B&M bookstores. Chicago, too.

But for most of "flyover country" full service bookstores are not abundant and *never* have been. There just aren't enough readers within reasonable driving time. That is why Amazon book sales grew so big so fast.

And, as noted above in the Wikipedia ABA listing, the number is steadily going down. B&M bookstores are not, as a whole, a particularly profitable business.

Among the non-chain stores, breaking even is a triumph.
I am taking exception to your statement "as always being rare".

When I think bookstore, for this discussion, I think a store who's primary business is selling new books. From the Google's I did, I don't think there were any (or few) outliers (art supply, news stands, airports). There were some used book stores. There were some college.

If you are only talking B&N than fine. But if you are talking historically, IMO, for my definition of bookstores, they are not just in/were in the biggest cities. I seem to recall driving through towns in the 70s and 80s, and many smaller cities had bookstores; they weren't the size of the modern B&N, but they were not boutiques and they sold new books, and you could order what they didn't carry. My town had a bookstore, and it wasn't even in the top 100 for population in our state.

In my state, 2 B&N stores are located in cities that don't even make the top 10 for population in my state (one is the 46th).
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