Ann Patchett is running out of places to sell her books. After a beloved local bookstore closed in Nashville, and another was lost when Borders filed for bankruptcy, Patchett decided that it was time for her to open up her own bookstore.
Patchett, a best-selling author that grew up in Nashville, has just opened Parnassus Books.
“I have no interest in retail; I have no interest in opening a bookstore… But I also have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.”
Patchett, the acclaimed author of “Bel Canto” and “Truth and Beauty,” is aware of the heavy competition from online giants like Amazon.com. According to the New York Times, Patchett hopes that Parnassus Books will be able to attract customers by providing personal service and intimate author events.
Still, Patchett is facing an uphill battle. The American Booksellers Association currently has about 1,900 independent bookstores as members. In 2002, the ABA had 2,400 registered book stores.
But that doesn’t mean that all independent book stores are doomed. The NY Times points to the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, which brought in more than a million dollars in 2009, and the Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, which has been profitable for the last two years.
Daniel Goldin, the owner of the Boswell Book Company, said:
“The world has changed so much — it’s sort of everybody against Amazon… The customer relationship is way more important than it used to be.”
Patchett said that her store isn’t shunning online sales. Parnassus Books will also sell eBooks through Google.
Do you think Parnassus Books will survive? Patchett says that any book lover has the responsibility to keep stores like hers open. Patchett said:
“If you like this thing, it’s your responsibility to keep this thing alive.”