For years there have been articles and news items about how more brick and mortar bookstores are closing due to the powerhouse that is Amazon. This included the big chains, as well as independent bookstores, but one of these has been slowly making a comeback.

Slate reported in 2014 that the number of independent stores registered with the American Booksellers Association (ABA) had gone up by about 20% since 2009. Current data from earlier in 2016 mentions that this is the seventh year in a row that ABA numbers have grown. While it’s not a large increase—only 63 stores more than the year previous—it is still important to note that the increase is steady.

This isn’t just a phenomenon that is happening in one location, either. The ABA has a webpage dedicated to providing a list of articles about how independent bookstores across the nation are holding strong.

Bookstores have a comfort that avid readers can’t get enough of. There’s something about it that’s almost magical—it’s like being surrounded by old and new friends. Even libraries do not provide the same feeling as going to the town’s local bookstore and picking out a new companion to bring home. These stores also provide a venue for authors to give readings and sign copies of their books for readers. It gives access to something people would not have otherwise.

Chain stores were closing because every one of them was designed to be the same. They lack a uniqueness that independent stores supply, making people want to visit them. BookBar in Denver, Colorado, has thrived because of their events, like literary trivia night. Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Parnassus Books now has a “bookmobile,” giving it the power to be anywhere. This personality is what could ultimately be keeping these stores in business.

By: Jessica Starr



Alter, Alexandra. “Ann Patchett’s Nashville Bookstore Hits the Road, With Dogs in Tow.” The New York Times. 24 Mar. 2016. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

American Booksellers Association. “Independent Bookstores Are Thriving.” American Booksellers Association. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Italie, Hillel. “Independent bookstores remain on a roll, their membership numbers growing for a seventh consecutive year.” U.S. News. 9 May 2016. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Karabell, Zachary. “Why Indie Bookstores Are on the Rise Again.” Slate. 9 Sept. 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Kelly, Caitlin. “People Are Still Buying Books At Indie Bookstores.” Forbes. 30 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Munio, Natalie. “Independent bookstores find success by creating a unique experience.” The Denver Post. 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.