Indie bookstores are propping up the industry right now. Despite the collapse of Borders, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that total bookstore sales in 2012 fell only 0.5 percent from 2011, with a total of $15.21 billion. Indies reported some of their strongest December sales ever, rising almost 8 percent for the year, while their online sales rose 28 percent. Total sales numbers for December increased 2.9 percent from December 2011, at $1.69 billion. Jack McKeown, co-owner and president of Books & Books in Westhampton Beach, New York, wrote on the Publishers Weekly website: “The industry loses 12% of its brick-and-mortar shelf space with the collapse of Borders (third quarter 2011); suffers tough comps with the impact of Borders liquidation sales; and endures further encroachment from online and ebooks, and yet bookstores still managed to turn in a virtually flat performance 2012 vs. 2011? And a strong December uptick. Pretty remarkable.” Barnes & Noble, however, saw a 10.9 percent drop for the holidays.
HANGING ON Don Ryan / AP Photo