business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

CBS Sunday Morning had a really good story about author Ann Patchett, who, in addition to being a successful novelist, also is an independent bookstore owner. She partnered with a woman who was retiring from her job in the publishing business to open Parnassus Books in Nashville six years ago, a time when bricks-and-mortar bookstores all over the country were closing.

Since that time, though, the tide has changed … while the number of independent bookstores in the US went from more than 3,000 to a little more than half that, the number now is growing, and has reached 2,300.

Patchett tells CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl, "I think that what's happening is that people are missing the community that independent bookstores provide. We're creating an environment that is for a lot more than just selling books.” At Parnassus Books, that means having lot of signings, performances by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, and doing everything possible - to use a phrase we use around here a lot - to make the store more than just a source of product, but as resource for its customers.

It is a pattern that the independent bookstore community seems to be adopting, and the story is worth watching. It is an Eye-Opener.

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