Home Bookselling Don’t call it a comeback: Up North’s independent bookstores defy the odds

Don’t call it a comeback: Up North’s independent bookstores defy the odds

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By Beth Milligan | 22 December 2021

Independent bookstores weren’t supposed to arrive until 2021. For decades, this beleaguered segment of the retail market faced one existential threat after another, from big box competitors like Borders & Barnes & Noble in the emergence of electronic books in the rise of the Amazon.

But reports of the collective demise of independent bookstores have been greatly exaggerated. Despite everything – the boom in supermarkets, the arrival of e-readers, the Amazon factor and even COVID-19 – the sale of independent books is in fact… growing? In this week Nord-Express, sister publication of The teleprinter, northern Michigan bookstores tell stories not only of survival but of prosperity despite years of industry disruption. Brilliant Books and Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City, McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, and Cottage Book Shop in Glen Arbor bring all their secrets to surviving the extinction events that were meant to wipe them out.

“We don’t just sell books,” explains a bookseller. “What we do is also provide a community resource and a space for community gathering. And people appreciate it.

the Nord-Express is available to read online or purchase a free copy at newsstands at nearly 700 locations in 14 counties in northern Michigan.


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