- CSNwashington.com - Monday, August 12, 2013

Nearly half the nation’s independent book stores have closed in the past decade. Book store chains are struggling. E-books are all the rage.

Even so, he is defying logic by adding books to the inventory at his record shop, devoting 3,500 square feet of space, aisles of shelves and 22,000 books of all types that sell for at least 35 percent off the list price.

His timing may not be that bad.

A decade ago, some 2,700 independent book store companies with more than 3,200 locations were members of the American Booksellers Association. Membership is now down to about 1,400 companies with 1,700 stores.

But the numbers have stabilized in the past couple of years and have even shown a slight uptick lately, said Meg Smith, spokeswoman for the ABA. Independent bookstores are expanding product offerings, with more gifts, lattes and cappuccino, and even beer and wine. Some indies are even jumping on the e-book bandwagon.

And the economy’s downturn has helped in an indirect way.

“The recession has had a golden lining for some stores, with lower real estate costs and the resulting opportunities that presents,” Crimple said.

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