Independent bookstores thriving despite digital advances

Author: CBS News
Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo via CBS News)

NEW YORK — All the technology at people’s fingertips was supposed to spell the end of books in people’s hands, but mom-and-pop bookstores are in the midst of a renaissance.

“It is a really good time to be a bookstore,” said Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo, co-founder of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, which just opened a new location.

More than 550 independent bookstores have opened since 2010.

“There’s only so much that digital can do, and we’re human, … we want that interaction with the physical world,” Stockton-Bagnulo said.

It turns out the book is a pretty good technology itself: You don’t have to charge it, you can take it anywhere and it works anytime.

The sheer ease and pleasure of a physical book may be why print sales are booming — up 50 million units since 2013.

Of course, it’s not all a happy story. Barnes & Noble has shut more than 150 stores in the past decade.

Barnabus Crosby said he hopes his young daughter will shop at a bookstore when she grows up. That’s just another reason to root for the mom-and-pop bookseller in your neighborhood.

“It’s important for me to kind of pass on to her my love of reading and my love of books, like my mom did for me and my grandmother did for my mother,” Crosby said.

The idea that little bookstores are dying goes back to the 1990s movie “You’ve Got Mail.” Meg Ryan’s character closed her shop. But in real life, New York’s Books Of Wonder – the shop believed to have inspired the movie – is still going strong.

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