>The Future of Bookselling

>I’ve been enjoying the series of articles in Poets & Writers in which agents and editors are interviewed. In the current issue (July-August 2009), Jofie Ferrari-Adler speaks with Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Galassi has many interesting things to say, but here’s something that jumped out at me:

Actually, at our sales conference . . . some of the salesmen were saying that neighborhood bookstores are doing better in the economic crisis because people are more interested in buying locally and supporting small businesses. I think this crisis could have a lot of good effects for the culture. It’s slowing things down–slowing down the pace of change–and making people aware of what’s important in life. It’s not just more, more, more. But I think all of the traditional bookstore chains are in trouble. Amazon is very, very effective. But I think Amazon is a potential . . . it’s a frenemy. It’s not just interested in being a bookstore. So I think we have to sell our own books to people. . . We don’t want to muscle out the retailers. But I think . . . the bookstores are the weakest link in the chain. . . . There are always going to be bookstores, but I don’t think that’s where the future of bookselling is. (emphasis added)

Agreed. The future of bookselling isn’t in bookstores; it’s right here, online.

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