Defined: As NY’s ‘The Strand’ requires assist, are indie bookstores in disaster worldwide?

By Surbhi Gupta, Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |

October 29, 2020 2:36:19 pm


The Strand, with a circulation of 2.5 million new books, used by the needy, is the latest in 48 stores that have previously made a popular Book Row, spread across six squares on Fourth Avenue. (Source: Facebook / Strand Book Store)

New York City’s most popular bookstore, The Strand, famous for its “18 Miles of Books”, could be a threat to the COVID-19 epidemic, as the business remains unstable, said owner Nancy Bass Wyden in a press release. The request underscores the seriousness of the crisis in private shops and families that have been experiencing it since March around the world. Even after reopening the post closure, they have been facing limited challenges due to disruptive cultures, as well as fierce competition from e-commerce giants.

What is the significance of The Strand?

The Strand, with a circulation of 2.5 million new books, used by the needy, is the latest in 48 stores that have previously made a popular Book Row, spread across six squares on Fourth Avenue. The 93-year-old store, founded by Benjamin Bass, immigrated to Lithuania, in 1927, has survived the Great Depression, World War II, the discovery of Big Box stores, and the disruption of e-commerce behemoths. In 2016, The New York Times named it “the undisputed king of the city’s retail store”.

What did the owner say at the meeting?

Bass Wyden, a third-generation member, says that in the past eight months, the store’s revenue has dropped by nearly 70% compared to last year, and it may not survive the “massive decline,” entirely for tourism and zero reservation events ”.

???? We need your help. This is a message we hope we will never write, but today is a turning point in The Strand’s history. Our income has dropped by about 70% compared to last year, and the debt and expenses that have forced us to work in recent months are gone. pic.twitter.com/mI074pigZu

– Strand Book Store (@strandbookstore) 23 October 2020

“While the PPP loan we have been given and the reserve allow us to repay it for the past eight months, we are now in a transition where our business is not stable,” he said.

What was the response from the customer?

After the memorandum was shared online, #savethestrand launched on Twitter, encouraging people to support the business by purchasing books. Many stopped outside the store over the weekend, and it also appeared in just one day of 10,000 orders online on Saturday, so their web page crashed. In the 48 hours since people applied for help, Strand had processed 25,000 orders online, which would have been about 600 in two ordinary days. One of the clients wrote 197 books online.

Why do indie bookstores struggle to keep up?

The Indie bookstore plays a part in the reading of local people. It is a library of old and rare books. Clients turn to them to get their ideas based on their findings and frequent findings, and have previously supported new writers and independent journalists. In this regard, they rely on local and loyal customers. But as the shops closed due to the closure, many recorded zero sales. They also use smaller lines and are afraid of changing consumer preferences when shopping online.

Big indie supermarkets are more expensive because of the size of the crowded working area, and they need high-end brands to go. That is why they rely on reading books and signing authors as a way to raise money. Strand usually hosts about 400 events a year. But none of this has happened in the last few months.

In the 48 hours since people applied for help, Strand had processed 25,000 orders online, which would have been about 600 in two ordinary days. (Source: Facebook / Strand Book Store)

The American Booksellers Association says that since the epidemic, 35 affiliated retailer stores have closed and feared that another 20% are at risk of being closed. Compared to 2019, when 104 new retail outlets opened in the year, only 30 were open in 2020, he said.

Amazon Control

Since 1995, when Amazon opened an online bookstore, its influence on books has increased. Publishes books through Amazon Publishing, works as a digital library through Prime Reading, e-reader, Kindle, dominates the e-book market, and also has Goodreads, a well-known social networking site.

They make up more than half of all booksellers, and three-quarters of all books or e-books purchased online, according to Codex, an audience-based research company. Over the past five years, Amazon’s stock market for all books has grown by 16%. Publishing houses also spend most of their advertising money on the platform, while bookkeeping is known as release or release.

In a direct attack to Amazon, earlier this month, the ABA launched an advertising campaign, called “Boxed Out,” which played out on the cards that have become popular home-grown carriers, highlighting the risks faced by indie retail stores. A Washington bookstore closed their front windows with a large blue cardboard box, with one logo saying, “Buy books for people who want to sell books, not turn the moon into a colony”, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, an astronaut who works, Blue Origins .

Looking for help

Several authors and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary have taken to Twitter to promote the indie bookstore. Since the second week of March, BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, in the US, which provides financial assistance to booksellers, has received more than 670 emergency funding requests. This is more than what the foundation has received in full over the past eight years, from 2012 to 2019.

After the memorandum was shared online, #savethestrand launched on Twitter, encouraging people to support the business by purchasing books. (Source: Facebook / Strand Book Store)

Many owners have turned their backs on the masses, many of whom are launching GoFundMe campaigns to help them pay off debts and retain employees. In their letters, they say that even if they turn to online things, this is not enough to achieve the type of business based on traffic flow.

Support is also based on Libro.fm, an audiobooks platform and competing with Amazon’s Audible, as it sends its findings to bookstores. There has been a steady increase of 300 percent of members since the closure.

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Why is Bookshop.org making news?

Claiming to be a “contender” with Amazon, Bookshop.org, which launched its beta brand earlier this year, has been hailed as a success, with more than 900 stores signed since January, and has helped generate more than $ 7.5 million for them. At Bookshop, when a customer decides to buy a book through a particular store, 30% of the sales go straight to the store. And in sales, when customers did not register a store, 10% of the sales are distributed equally in their retail stores, allowing even those with a small following to get some of the profits. 100 UK stores have signed up with an online retailer, before being set up next month.

The rise and fall of the Big Box shopping mall

In addition to being a former American Romcom, 1998’s Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks star You Got Mail also turned out to be a fun bookstore, as well as the threat posed by the big box. These chains came out in the 60s when urban shopping malls began to spread in the US. Barnes & Noble, Border, Books-A-Million rose to prominence in the 90’s with the creation of an indie bookstore business. Between 2000 and 2007, nearly 1,000 stores closed, while Borders moved from 21 stores in 1992 to 256 supermarkets in 1999. Barnes & Noble saw significant growth.

Indie bookstore launches global #BoxedOut campaign (Photo: Business Wire / AP)

However, unable to compete with Amazon, Border collapsed in 2011, and Barnes & Noble’s future looks uncertain. The number of Barnes & Noble stores has dropped from 681 in 2005 to 627 at the end of 2019. Having been listed as a state-owned enterprise, they had no choice but to compete with the e-commerce giant and were forced to pursue large quantities of waste products, which is difficult to find. they have an audience of their choice. Since Amazon is not a retailer, it can carry a lot of items like a toll on its payments. in contrast to the chains, which are supposed to show high sales, multiple retail outlets, and low prices to ensure their prices.

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