Indie Bookstores Have Big Holiday Salesposted by
Courtesy of Publishers Weekly…
Despite an economic backdrop filled with talk of a fiscal cliff and no single hot holiday title like last year’s Steve Jobs biography, independent booksellers who took part in PW Daily’s Christmas 2012 survey were surprisingly upbeat. “We beat last year and last year was a stellar year. We are very happy,” said Dana Brigham, manager and co-owner of Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass. Similarly, Suzy Takacs, owner of The Book Cellar in Chicago, which saw 2011 sales rise 38% in the wake of Borders’s closing, was pleased to have last year’s increase stick. Holiday sales for 2012 were “terrific,” she said, “up a whisker.” And Michael Boggs, co-owner of Carmichael’s Bookstore, with two stores in Louisville, Ky., was satisfied with being down 6% at one store and 4% at the other. “Both were up 38% from the year before. The new level is 30% more than pre-Borders. It’s an enormously big figure for a store that’s 35 years old to have.”
In Des Moines, Alice Meyer, owner of 6-year-old Beaverdale Books, was “exuberant.” Her store was up 10% last month and 29% for the year. Two-year-old Wakefield Books in Wakefield, R.I., one of a few indies to open in a Waldenbooks location, also held its own. “We had another very solid year here,” said manager Bob Ryan. “December started off a little slower than we like, but those last few days from December 21 made up a lot of ground we had lost.”
The last few days were crucial for many stores this season. Lisa Baudoin, owner of Books & Company in Oconomowoc, Wis., described the final three days as “huge,” with the store’s highest sales ever on Saturday, December 22. “This year for the retailer it was a five-day holiday,” said Steven Baum, co-owner of Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Md. “But it couldn’t make up for November and December.” His store was down for the year.
Other stores experienced a stronger build up to Christmas, including some affected by late October’s “Frankenstorm,” Hurricane Sandy. “It has been a good year even taking into account that we were closed for two weeks with the hurricane,” said Karen Rumage, co-owner of River Road Books in Fair Haven, Ct. Broadway and Brookline Books, which both do a big Hanukkah business, reported an early sales boost from having the holiday fall in the first half of December.
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