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Old 06-30-2020, 04:05 PM   #135
fjtorres
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John F View Post
I am taking exception to your statement "as always being rare".

.
Up to the 50's there were barely any books stores in the US.
Just a few hundred stores whose primary business was, as you say, selling new books.
Seriously.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/...americans-read

Quote:

If paperbacks were going to succeed in America, they would need a new model. De Graff, for his part, was well acquainted with the economics of books. He knew that printing costs were high because volumes were low—an average hardcover print run of 10,000 might cost 40 cents per copy. With only 500 bookstores in the U.S., most located in major cities, low demand was baked into the equation.

Bookstores were unicorns until paperbacks came about in the late 30's but then the war stepped in and it wasn't until the economic boom of the 50's and 60's and the appearance of paperback originals in the late 50's that reading for entertainment hit the mainstream, promoting the creation of the mall chains of the 60's through 80's. Then the 90's hit, the publishers consolidated, mall chains were boughtbout and closed, and the big box stores took over. In less than a decade they went from 10,000 bookstores to around 5000.

The heydey of "a bookstore in every regional mall" was the 80's. It lasted maybe a decade and a half. The historical norm was really "very few stores, concentrated in the big cities".

Then Amazon stepped in, building its empire off sales to the very places *without* bookstores, building enough volume to qualify for the top publisher discounts. Half a decade later, Borders was gone. A half decade after that saw entire regional chains follow it and B&N begin a downward spiral.

It isn't ending. Non-chainstores were steadily closing a dozen a year or so ago and now the lockdowns froze sales but not costs.

Try this:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...s-disappearing

Quote:

Like payphones, typewriter repair shops and middle-class housing, bookstores are a vanishing presence in New York City. In 1950, Manhattan had 386 bookstores, according to Gothamist; by 2015, the number was down to 106. Now, according to a count by the city’s best-known bookstore, the Strand, there are fewer than 80. Book Row, a stretch of Fourth Avenue between Union Square and Astor Place that once housed almost 50 used and antiquarian bookstores, now claims just one: Alabaster Bookshop at Fourth Avenue and 12th Street. (Plus the Strand, which relocated a block away in 1957.)
The NYC case is not unique.
San Francisco, LA, Chicago, St Louis, California in general have all seen bookstores squeezed out over the last year or so. It's typically high rents, declining traffic, online comoetition and (shhhh!) minimum wage hikes.

As the Guardian says, low margins can't support open market costs.
And those are issues for *all* booksellers, everywhere.
Not just NYC.

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-30-2020 at 04:25 PM.
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