Monday, June 20, 2016
Indie Booksellers Tweak Business Models to Make Most of Hearty Print Sales
Jun 17, 2016
With the resurgence of print and the leveling off of e-books sales, indie bookstores are testing new business models, scouting new locations, and turning their stores into minichains to grow their businesses.
In March, Copperfield’s Books, based in Sebastopol, Calif., opened a new store in Novato, its
eighth. Next month, Books Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, will add its 11th in Silicon Valley. In the fall, Book World, headquartered in Appleton, Wis., will open its largest store, its 45th, a
6,000-sq.-ft. location in DeKalb, Ill. And by the year’s end, Dallas-based Half Price Books, the country’s largest indie chain, will have 125 stores in 17 states.
“It’s basically a matter of taking what one knows and leveraging your strengths,” said Mitchell Kaplan, founder of the 34-year-old Books & Books, headquartered in Coral Gables, Fla. “I’ve learned to say, ‘Why not?’ ”
That’s how Kaplan ended up branching into film production, opening a small press, and piloting a hybrid bookstore in Miami last month with No Boundaries Sport, a bicycle store across the street from Kaplan’s flagship location, and with graffiti artist David “Lebo” Le Batard. The result is Books+Books+Bikes+Lebo. Kaplan, who believes that the local aspect of an independent is extremely important, has also formed affiliate relationships with four stores not directly in his area, including the Books & Books in Westhampton Beach, N.Y. He owns five stores.