As Longtime Indie Bookstores Shutter, Independent Bookstores Spring Up – Forbes

Independent bookstores are opening in various locations, while some longtime stores are closing.
Independent bookstores have faced numerous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped new stores from opening, while some longtime stores are closing their doors. While U.S. bookstore sales rose 30.3% in June 2021 from the previous year, as reported by Publishers Weekly, the high cost of rent in some locations combined with the effect sof being closed to foot traffic for part of 2020 means some stores are closing their doors.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, Sonya Spencer opened Urban Reader Bookstore in July, making it the city’s only Black-owned bookstore. Spencer told Spectrum News, ““There was nobody selling African-American books. I reached out to Baker and Taylor, which is actually out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and I opened up an account…Children should see themselves at a young age. That starts with the board books, all the way up to the chapter books and adult books.”
Another Black-owned bookstore, Kindred Creatives Art and Literary Press in Dallas, Texas, opened in July, with shelves reserved for BIPOC artists and creators, reports The Dallas Morning News. Owner Cicely Carr quit her job as a teacher during the pandemic, and secured the store’s space last November. “It’s nice seeing us support us, you know. We love being here because it’s our people in the store shopping. We love to see other Black-owned businesses popping up,” she told the paper. The store is also a Makerspace and literary center, according to its website; it will host an in-person eight-week course for aspiring writers, So You Want To Be An Author, taught by writer ReGina Crawford, beginning September 3.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Joy and Matt’s opened this month, named for its owners owners Matt Stonecash and Haixia “Joy” Niu. Stonecrash told WLWT, “I loved The Booksellers on Fountain Square. Since it closed, there has been a shortage of spaces to browse and discover books, especially new titles. Joy and I are excited to take that challenge on and provide a new space for discovery,” Stonecash said. Niu told the station, “When I started life in the U.S., books helped me learn English, but also opened my eyes to the world outside the research laboratories I worked in. We want to let our community have this opportunity, to know books as essential nutrients that make the mind grow stronger.”
In a blog post on the need for a local bookstore in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood where they opened, Stonecrash wrote, “Reading a book allows you to set your own pace, for a deeper engagement with the ideas. I never could have passed Organic Chemistry or Strength of Materials by listening to an audiobook or a podcast. I had big thick books that I scribbled notes all over. Maybe some people can understand economic theories or relativity at the kind of cursory attention level encouraged by new media, I cannot and I’m skeptical. “
Long Island, New York’s Book Revue in Huntington is facing eviction at the end of September over unpaid rent. In a Facebook post, owner Richard Klein wrote that community support for the bookstore has been “overwhelming” and “ We want to thank all of you who have expressed your feelings about the store and its importance to the community. It has come to our attention that some people are trying to raise money on our behalf. While we appreciate this effort, we are not looking to raise funds at this time.” Klein told News 12 about some of the issues the store has faced, saying, “We were forced to close, mandated by law to close and even when we were able to open, store traffic was down.” Newsday reported that another bookseller may take its place. The paper quoted the bookstore’s landlord Emerson Dobbs III, who said, “It’s a book reseller with a contract from one of the publishing houses. We are working with them to occupy part of the space.”
And in Horse Cave, Kentucky, The Bookstore is closing after 40 years in business. Owner Thomas Chaney told WBKO, “We’ve had a good time, selling books and telling stories, and eating good food and so you know, things change. I’ve moved probably 20 times in my life, I escape once in a while, and then when things cool off, I come back home, and I’d hope to stay here reading and drinking a little whiskey until it came time for me to decide what books I wanted to put in my coffin. But plans go away.”

I’m a freelance writer covering books, pop culture, and relationships. My website is rachelkramerbussel.com and you can follow me at @raquelita on Twitter. I’ve edited

I’m a freelance writer covering books, pop culture, and relationships. My website is rachelkramerbussel.com and you can follow me at @raquelita on Twitter. I’ve edited over 60 anthologies, and am Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series editor, and my short stories have been published in over 100 anthologies. My books have won eight IPPY (Independent Publisher) awards. I’ve taught writing workshops across the United States and internationally. My nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle.com, Salon, Slate, and numerous other publications. When I’m not working, I’ve got my head buried in a book and am always looking for my next read.

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