Booksellers B.Dalton, Waldenbooks and Borders once dotted the suburban shopping landscape. They also played a part in the decline of the independent bookstore. While those chains are long shuttered don’t write an obituary for independent book shops yet.
Despite competition from chains and online retailers the neighborhood bookstore is surviving and, in some cases, thriving. They’re being kept alive through a combination of shoppers interested in supporting local businesses and bookseller’s ingenuity.
Independent booksellers can’t compete with the chains and online vendors on certain levels namely price. However, Susan Hans O’Connor, owners of the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley says, “We have to find ways to be exceptional and make book buying an experience.” This includes providing excellent customer service, finding books for people based on individual taste and bringing attention to authors and books not receiving a big publicity push by publishers.
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