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February 2011 - Article: Independent Bookstore Forum

The struggles facing independent bookstores is not a new topic as owners continue to fight the forces of the big-box stores and online retailers such as Amazon. At ABA's Fifth Annual Winter Institute, over 500 independent bookstore owners were at attendance. Scheduled workshop events included "The New Reality: Alternative Business Models for Independent Bookstores", and Small & Mid-Size Store Roundtable." Some independents are retooling business models by introducing cafes, selling wine, and offering toys and other non-book merchandise. Others look for unusual promotional opportunities, such as Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. This store was the winner of a contest held by Scholastic in conjunction with the release of Mockingjay, the third title in author Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series. Participating stores were asked to design a display that reflected the overall theme of the series. Powell's met the challenge by creating a 17-foot cornucopia containing copies of the book, and won a store visit by the author.


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