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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
HomeSummaryWe Thought Amazon Killed Local Bookstores. We Were So Wrong.

We Thought Amazon Killed Local Bookstores. We Were So Wrong.

Despite the common belief that Amazon has led to the demise of local bookstores, independent bookshops are thriving in Texas. This resurgence is not limited to large cities, but also includes suburbs and small towns. The American Booksellers Association reports an increase in membership, with approximately 300 more members now than in 2019, before the pandemic. This trend is particularly noticeable in Texas.

In a single month over the summer, three independent bookshops opened in greater Austin. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of bookstores opening in smaller cities and towns. Over the past four years, the West Texas towns of Abilene and San Angelo, along with Rockwall, Seguin, Waco, Waxahachie, Georgetown, and Longview, have all seen the establishment of independent bookstores selling new titles. Several other towns have joined this trend in the current year.

One example of this trend is Thompson’s Bookstore, a popular bar in downtown Fort Worth. The bar, which opened eight years ago, is not a bookstore but has capitalized on the public’s love for bookstores. The owners have created an atmosphere reminiscent of a bookstore, complete with stuffed bookcases and literary-themed cocktails. The bar’s success, including a recent $4 million expansion, illustrates the enduring appeal of bookshops, even in non-traditional formats.

These examples illustrate a strong public affection for bookshops, which is not typically extended to other types of businesses that have been affected by big-box chains or Amazon. This affection, combined with the recent resurgence of independent bookstores, contradicts the assumption that these shops are disappearing. Instead, it appears that independent bookstores are experiencing a revival, particularly in Texas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Despite predictions of their demise, independent bookstores are experiencing a resurgence, particularly in Texas, with new stores opening in both large cities and smaller towns.
  • The American Booksellers Association reports an increase in membership, indicating a growth in the number of independent bookstores since before the pandemic in 2019.
  • The popularity of independent bookstores is attributed to the unique atmosphere they provide, which is often used in other businesses, such as bars, to create a distinctive and appealing environment.

“Part of our longing is because many of us have assumed that independent shops were passing into history. But suddenly that seems wrong—indie stores are roaring back. The American Booksellers Association reports having about three hundred more members now than it did in 2019, before the pandemic.”

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