That’s a question I get asked a lot these days. Two of the Northfield’s three downtown bookstores will be closed in May. River City Books went out of business in March. Bookfellows will shut the doors in May.
I read this in the Huffington Post recently.
A book is not an object to admire from afar, but something that can be possessed for a relatively modest sum, taken home and pondered for a lifetime, lived with. Who wants to live in a time and town without bookstores?
Then I read about Vertigo Books closing:
Why are we closing? There are many reasons, but basically, not enough people buy books here.
We have many loyal customers, just not enough of them, and our cloning experiments have not yielded satisfactory results. And way too many people (not you, but someone you know) are buying their books at Amazon.
Please take a fresh look around your community, temporarily ditch the iPod, stop Facebooking and tweeting for a moment and explore your neighborhood’s businesses.
The comments from Vertigo are right on the money. Monkey See, Monkey Read has many loyal customers. The question is are there enough of them? Money is tight, the economy is in rough shape. I see it everyday. Someone laughed at me the other day when I said the book he wanted was $3.00. $3.00, the price of a latte, too much for a book?
So what are we doing about it? We extended our hours. Monkey See, Monkey Read is now open until 8:00 pm Monday through Thursday. We have added more inventory. Our selection of new book inventory is larger than ever and growing daily. We offer a better value for our customers than the chains or amazon.com. How do we do this? We discount bestsellers 20%. First table in the door, great books, great prices. We discount most special orders 10%. We offer a 20% discount to teachers on books for classroom use. We offer a 20% discount to book clubs. We sell most of our used books for half the cover price or less. We will buy your used books when you are ready to give them up. You can trade them in for more books.
We live and work in this community. When is the last time amazon or B&N gave a donation to your local organization? Why are you shopping there and asking me for donations?
If you are one of our loyal customers, thank you and spread the word. If you’ve never been in, give it a try. We don’t bite.
So how’s business? We’re hanging on, but it could be a lot better.