Borders has gone the way of Tower Records, Hollywood Video, Virgin Megastore, and Blockbuster, but happily,
“the best locally-owned purveyors of physical media seem to be in better shape than the soulless megachains. San Francisco’s Amoeba Music, Le Video, and Green Apple Books, for instance, are sprawling, wonderfully quirky independents that are still very much with us.”
See Harry McCracken’s “Decline and Fall of Physical Media Retailing: A Timeline” in Technologizer (Feb 17, 2011)
See also New York Magazine’s list of independent bookstores in Manhattan.
My favorite local bookstore, Murder Ink, and its storefront companion Ivy’s Books, closed their doors on Broadway at 92nd St. a few years ago. I still miss them. Their demise, due to rising rent they couldn’t meet, brought home to me how fragile the economics can be for independent stores. How will they survive as internet giant Amazon presses its digital advantage? Can the unhurried, bookish ambience of the independent store in your neighborhood hold its own against Amazon’s one-click dominance? I’ll be looking at these questions. For now, I keep my Ross MacDonald in one of Murder Ink’s bookshelves, purchased in their final days. And I proudly wear this T-shirt from Ivy’s.