Twin Cities bookstores thrive as readers look to shop local
Twin Cities independent bookstores are thriving as customers look to local sources for the latest reads.
The big picture: Though brick and mortar stores are struggling in the age of online shopping, indie bookstores have seen a resurgence nationwide over the last few years, per the New York Times.
- Despite a nearly 30% drop in bookstore sales in 2020, many shops are now reporting sales numbers higher than pre-COVID.
State of play: Axios spoke to five independent book stores across the Twin Cities, and all said they’ve returned to or exceeded pre-pandemic sales numbers.
What they’re saying: An increase in foot traffic as people get out more is a big reason behind the boom, several stores told Axios.
So is a desire to shop local, said Excelsior Bay Books co-owner Ann Woodbeck.
- “People believed what they heard during the pandemic: if you don’t support local businesses, they won’t be there when you come back. Our regulars cared that we survived,” Woodbeck said.
Yes, and: “BookTok,” a subcommunity on TikTok where users recommend literature, has also contributed to the local bookstore hype.
- Subtext Books owner Matt Keliher said he’s added a romance section partially because the genre is so popular on BookTok.
- Birchbark Books & Native Arts, which primarily stocks Native authors, sees customers visit just to make TikToks about the store, manager Halee Kirkwood told Axios.
What’s next: Though there might be the regular seasonal slump, bookstores think the boom is here to stay.
- “People value personal recommendations and their local community. We’re doing better than ever before, and I think we’ll stay that way,” Kirkwood said.
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