Readersforum's Blog

May 15, 2013

Brick and mortar: Best indie bookstores

Author Ann Patchett, shown here at Parnassus Books, co-founded the Nashville bookstore at the end of 2011.

Author Ann Patchett, shown here at Parnassus Books, co-founded the Nashville bookstore at the end of 2011.

By Hilary Davidson

In the age of Amazon and e-books, common wisdom claims that brick-and-mortar bookstores are going the way of the dinosaurs. If a national chain such as Borders, which folded in 2011, couldn’t succeed in this climate, what are the odds of an independent shop going the distance?

Surprisingly good, it turns out.

I’ve published three novels over the past three years, and each time I head out on tour, I discover amazing bookstores. While it’s hard to beat the Internet for sheer efficiency, virtual book-buying can’t satisfy the same itch for discovery that browsing in person can. Moreover, it’s become easy to love e-books and local stores since Kobo started partnering with independents to make some 3 million titles available electronically.

The stores that are succeeding offer a mix of author visits, staff recommendations and community outreach that’s impossible to replace. While there are incredible indies all over North America, these are my favorites:

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