The independent bookstore channel continues to see growth, not just in sales. This week the American Booksellers Association announced that it added 40 indie bookstores in 24 states, which opened in 2012, including five branches of existing businesses and seven used booksellers. The recently re-opened Kepler’s Books and Magazines in Menlo Park, Calif., and World’s Only Curious George Store in Cambridge, Mass., both under new ownership, joined ABA. The biggest winners, in terms of new stores, were New York and California, which each gained five stores. And ABA will continue to add stores with last week’s announcement by WORD in Brooklyn that it will open a bookstore and café in Jersey City in late spring and pop-up bookstore Word Up’s successful $60,000 Indiegogo fundraising campaign for a new space.
As PW reported earlier this month, many indies had a very merry Christmas, which many attributed to customers wanting to shop local. The latest study in the Indie Impact series, conducted by Civic Economics in partnership with the ABA for the 12-month period from November 2011 through October 2012, points up the advantages of shopping local. Independents keep more than three times as much revenue in the local economy than chains.
Among the findings highlighted in the study and in this week’s Bookselling This Week are: The average local recirculation of revenues for retailers and restaurants and restaurants is 52.3% for local businesses versus 15.8% for chains. This means indies keep 3.3 times as much revenue in the local economy as do their chain competitors. Focusing just on retailers, local businesses recirculate 47.7% of revenue locally, compared to 13.6% for chains to maintain 3.5 times as much revenue in the local economy. Looking at the data nationally by retail segment, sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores combined recirculate 39.1% of revenue locally.
“Each Indie Impact study further drives home the point that we’ve been making for years that shopping at your local, independent retailer is better for the fiscal health of a community,” commented ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “At a time when many cities and towns are faced with budgetary and job creation challenges, these figures simply provide yet another great reason for shopping local.”