How are independent bookstores not just surviving, but thriving, in the age of Amazon? It’s a question that Ryan Raffaelli, assistant professor at Harvard Business School, first asked in 2015, compelling him to study independent bookstores ever since.
He plans to release an initial version of his study later in 2018, but in the meantime, he has published an abstract with an overview of his initial findings, called “Reframing Collective Identity in Response to Multiple Technological Discontinuities: The Novel Resurgence of Independent Bookstores.”
Raffaelli has found that independent bookstores’ resurgence was in part facilitated by bottom-up processes in the form of a social movement: “localism.” Independent bookstores and other small, local businesses raised awareness for localism and helped develop the value of community.
He also found that independent bookstores were able to reclaim market demand by setting themselves apart from retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble in their practices. Independent bookstores’ curation of inventory focuses on providing a more specialized and personal experience to their customers.
Independent Bookstores also redefined their role in communities and became the place where people convene. Bookstores are no longer simply a place to buy books; they are gathering places and venues in the community.
At the same time independent bookstores have been redefining themselves from the bottom up, the American Booksellers Association has been promoting a collective identity that established cohesiveness, while still preserving each store’s independence.
Independent bookstores continue to bring incredible value to their local communities and that is why they are thriving!
In an interview with Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, Raffaelli said, “This has been an especially fascinating industry to study because indie booksellers provide us with a story of hope.”
At Libro.fm, we know our relationships with customers, partner bookstores, authors, and publishers can be a driving force for building community. The heart of what we do is driven by our love of books and our commitment to helping your local community thrive–just like your favorite brick-and-mortar shop.
Join this movement and celebrate Independent Bookstore Day with Libro.fm on Saturday, April 28th.