Are indie bookstores the future?

Bestselling author Ann Patchett just announced that she and her business partner will open a bookstore in Green Hills, Tennessee. The area needs a bookstore, she says. Some will no doubt wonder if Patchett is nuts. I wonder if Patchett is part of a trend that marks the future for books and bookstores. When BordersBookstores closed earlier this year, citing the advent of e-readers, a changing publishing industry, and bad economy, we were once again left to ponder the future of traditional print books and bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

About the same time Borders shut its doors, I talked with Steven and Michelle Pritchard. They own Pritchard’s Book Cafe, a small bookstore/coffee shop in Southridge Mall in Des Moines.  The Book Cafe is an eclectic blend of sandwiches, coffee named for authors, bookmarks handmade by Michelle, and, oh, books!  It’s a friendly space, unique to its owners.

The Pritchards are moving to larger space this summer where they plan to cut down on the food side of their Cafe as they add more books.  In celebration of their new space, they were lining up authors (myself included) to come in for signings.

Owning a bookstore is a long-time dream for Michelle. So she and Steven are going for it. The Prichards are doing what entrepreneurs do – they follow their dreams and put their own unique stamp on the dream in the process.

Des Moines has other independent bookstores – Beaverdale Books owned by Alice Myers and The Book Storeowned by John Heitzman.  Independent bookstores dot the Iowa landscape. Each unique, each reflecting the personality and taste of its owner.

I applaud each of these Indy bookstores for their dedication to books, service, and the entrepreneurial way of life. May book lovers find you and buy books from you. May you live long and prosper!

Join the conversation. Your comments or questions welcomed!

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