Are used bookstores on the comeback trail? Michael Rosenwald reports for the Washington Post that this may be the case. He starts his piece with a tale of an entrepreneurial book lover who is opening a new store:
Early next month, Pablo Sierra is opening a used bookstore in Northwest Washington — an unlikely bet in the digital age made even more inconceivable, given that his only experience with books is reading them.
“I guess it is pretty crazy,” Sierra said, echoing an observation shared by some of his friends.
Or maybe not. Sierra, like other book lovers, has read articles about slowing e-book sales and watched as independent bookstores such as Politics and Prose thrive, catering to readers who value bookish places as cultural hubs and still think the best reading device is paper.
He adds that “(w)hile there are no industry statistics on used-book sales, many stores that survived the initial digital carnage say their sales are rising.”
We can only hope that this is true. The vitality of used bookstores is a leading indicator of whether we live in a literate, reading, thinking society. They offer a chance to obtain new treasures that may be out of print today, not to mention provide an opportunity to recycle books that have outlived their usefulness to their original owner. When you walk into a used bookstore, you never know what discoveries await you.