Independent Bookstores Should Go Away

They're inefficient and charge too much: Farhad Manjoo
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2011 1:46 PM CST
Don't be too sentimental about your local bookseller, writes Farhad Manjoo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Independent bookstores win a lot of sympathy in their David-and-Goliath fight against big bad Amazon, but Farhad Manjoo of Slate is siding with Goliath in this one. He lights into those quaint corner bookshops as "some of the least efficient, least user-friendly, and most mistakenly mythologized local establishments you can find." Their product generally isn't all that local, and it's expensive to boot. All that overhead means you could buy two books on Amazon for every one at a physical store.

Besides, Amazon is actually helping the cause of writers and readers. "No company in recent years has done more than Amazon to ignite a national passion for buying, reading, and even writing new books," argues Manjoo. Yeah, physical stores have nice tangibles, like comfy couches, but that doesn't cut it anymore. These "moldering institutions" have had their day. (Safe to say Manjoo will get plenty of feedback on this column, and not just at work. He writes that his wife is "an unreformed local-bookstore cultist.")

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