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It turns out that even Amazon can't automate a community.

The big picture: As Amazon fueled the collapse of chain bookstores, independent bookstores were quietly thriving. In the last 10 years, independent bookstores have grown by nearly 50% across the country, from 1,651 to 2,470 stores.

  • Bradley Graham, a co-owner of D.C. based bookstore Politics & Prose, told Axios: "You have to attribute this renewed interest in bookstores to a sense of community, a sense of neighborhood-ness."

Special report: The future of retail

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Bradley Graham as "a member of the famous Graham family." We apologize for the error.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.

15 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.