Strong Holiday Sales for Independent Bookstores

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Indies Defy Conventional Wisdom as Sales and Locations Continue to Increase

Independent bookstores are showing continued resilience this holiday season, with reported online and in-store sales well up year-over-year. The American Booksellers Association said today that member in-store book sales as tracked by Nielsen Bookscan for Thanksgiving week —  which included Black Friday and Small Business Saturday  —  increased 15.5 percent over the same week in 2010. Sales in store websites powered by ABA IndieCommerce increased by 60 percent for Thanksgiving weekend (Black Friday through Cyber Monday) over 2010.

“These sales numbers reflect what we are hearing from our members across the country,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “An array of factors are fueling the resurgence of independent bookstores, including the growing acceptance of the ‘local first’ movement; an extraordinary level of innovative and creative entrepreneurship; a willingness to adapt to changing retail trends including selling both print and digital books online; and, most importantly, continuing to be an unmatched source of credible information about books and authors.”

More than 330 independent bookstores stores are selling Google eBooks™ through their ABA powered websites, and the just-launched IndieBound Reader mobile app facilitates reading e-books on smartphones and tablets.

The tide is turning for indies in other ways as well. ABA reported that new member store locations have multiplied in the last two years, a trend that may finally put to rest the “You’ve Got Mail” notion of the local shop forced out of business by a national chain. More than 1,900 storefront locations are currently members of ABA, an increase of 15.5 percent since January 2010. Since 2005, more than 614 stores have opened and joined the group, 74 stores since January 2010 alone.