Bookstores and New Zealand Book Shop Day, Saturday October 31st
Independent Bookstore Day in the US, which in turn grew out of California Bookstore Day ("Independent Bookstore Day, May 2nd"), the inaugural New Zealand Book Shop Day is designed to promote patronage of independent bookstores.
According to Booksellers NZ, besides the US event, Australia holds National Bookshop Day and the United Kingdom holds Books are my Bag.
Bookstores as "third places." Bookstores are great good places and are fundamental building blocks of community... even chain bookstores are great places to hang out, read, and hopefully from the standpoint of the managers and employees, for us to buy books and magazines..
Bookstore closures in DC. I have to say I miss the Borders that was in Silver Spring before the company went out of business. It was a major anchor and destination at the heart of their Downtown.
A couple years ago, the Barnes & Noble closed in Union Station ("Barnes & Noble closing in Union Station at end of year," Washington Post) in favor of an H&M, which outbid them for the lease.
More recently, Barnes & Noble announced they would be closing their downtown store ("DC Barnes & Noble closing, leaving no more big bookstores in the city"), their last location in the city. I wish there would be an effort to support their reopening elsewhere in the central business district--even across the street from the Central Library or in a combination. Their Georgetown store closed a few years ago, again because they were outbid by a company willing to pay a higher rent.
And pedaling through Dupont Circle, I noticed that the Books-A-Million store closed also, apparently that happened in July ("D.C. is losing another bookstore," Washington Post) although Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe is still going strong.
DC also used to have a number of stores dedicated to the sale of periodicals--magazines and newspapers--but with the rise of the Internet and the decline of newspaper economics, newspapers especially have significantly shortened their distribution chains, so it's very difficult to get "out of town" newspapers anymore, and people just use the Web or apps for news-gathering, so most of these stores have closed. The Post had a story about this earlier in the month, "An old-school D.C. newsstand dies. Another rises to take its place."
Bookstore openings in DC. But in a "bookstore light" kind of move, each new Busboys and Poets comes with a very small book section, now run by the award-winning DC bookstore, Politics & Prose.
And as recounted in the blog entry cited above, Warehouse Industries, the restaurant-oriented local business group led by lifelong Washingtonian Paul Ruppert, last year opened Upshur Street Books, a small book store in the Upshur Street commercial district in the Petworth neighborhood, in a location adjacent to three restaurant properties that the company also runs.
Going forward, in big cities why not co-locate bookstores with main libraries? Note that in some of my writings on planning for a new central library, I did suggest ("Civic assets and mixed use: Central Library edition") the possible co-location of "for profit" bookstores such as a Barnes & Noble, Baltimore's Red Emma's Bookstore (a business co-operative bookstore with a radical bent), a news-stand, a booksellers row like the backside of the National Library of Quebec in Montreal, or other independent operations.
In Montreal, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec has set up the back side of its building to accommodate small booksellers, which they call the Allee des Bouquinistes.
DC doesn't have the population density necessary to support outdoor news-stand kiosks like they have in New York City (I remember the same types of stands in Detroit, when I was very young, back when Detroit had more than 1.5 million residents), but an "outdoor" newsstand would be really cool integrated into the facade of the Martin Luther King Library downtown, at the building corner at 9th and F Streets.
Marck's Brentwood Newsstand, Los Angeles.
Bookstores in France, the UK and Ireland. According to the New York Times ("Assessing the Health of Independent Bookshops"), after a precipitous number of store closings in the US, the number of new shops is increasing, while in the UK and Ireland the number of bookstores continues to decline, while in France, bookstores remain successful ("French Bookstores Are Still Prospering," New York Times) supported by various government efforts, including maintaining "manufacturers suggested retail prices" for online booksellers ("France Takes Aim at Amazon to Protect Local Bookshops," New York Times).