Monday, May 22, 2006

You may not want to hear this, see

The Guardian has an article that at least partially validates the controversial Tyler Cowen Slate piece. It notes that you can't just plop a bookstore anywhere:

First, the owner needs bags of experience. Starting on a whim - "I'm tired of my job in industrial chemistry and have always loved books" - is generally a recipe for disaster. Second, find the right location: Oldfield Park is a brilliant spot, a gentrifying suburb with lots of young professionals (big book buyers) and aspirational families (buyers of big books). The place is big and busy enough to support a well-run local bookshop, but not so attractive that Ottakar's, say, is going to come calling. It can be done.

The author visits a number of successful independents and describes what they do and how they differ from the independents. In short, they succeed by being better or different from the chains. No matter what you think of the subject, you will probably long for a visit to the UK to visit some of these shops.

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