New shelf life: Indie bookstores carve new niche$

  • New York Post -  December 7, 2012

Here’s a startling plot twist for readers: local bookstores are making a comeback.
After two decades of beatings from big-box retailers and Amazon, independent booksellers are swinging to nationwide growth with clever high-tech strategies, tightly focused niches — and, in at least one case, alcohol sales.
Singularity & Co., a storefront opened in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood this August, is swiftly becoming a destination for sci-fi geeks with its project to “rescue” vintage, out-of-print pulp titles by publishing them online for monthly subscribers.

Heather O’Donnell runs Honey & Wax Booksellers in Park Slope
Stephen Yang
Heather O’Donnell runs Honey & Wax Booksellers in Park Slope

Their latest e-book: “Mr. Stranger’s Sealed Packet,” is a novel about a trip to Mars written in the 1890s, of which “only seven or eight copies” are known to exist, according to Singularity founder Ash Kalb.
“In six months, our circulation will be at least as large as the most established sci-fi publishers,” Kalb says.
Budding book merchants are showing similar creativity elsewhere, staging music concerts, selling digital content and mastering social networking in towns like Athens, Ga.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Prescott, Ariz., says Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association.
This year, newly opened mom-and-pop stores nationwide have helped fuel a double-digit sales increase after years of declines, the trade group says.

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