NPR’s Weekend Edition recently featured the “surprising” growth of New York City’s Posman Books, a family-owned independent bookstore that will open its fourth store in the city next year. But is it such a surprise? As we shared last fall, the number of small independent bookstores are, contrary to conventional wisdom, growing in number. Longtime book publishing observer Nate Hoffelder, says it’s a phenomenon summed up in the old saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Yet in this case, the enemy was big box physical stores and the enemy of the enemy was Amazon.com. As Amazon.com has grown, the big-box bricks and mortar bookstore chains have shrunk. So is it possible that Amazon.com should be credited with providing the opportunity for Posman Books’ success? It’s certainly helpful that Barnes & Nobles are becoming less and less a competitive factor, but Posman Books and other small independent bookstores have stayed alive by being gritty competitors and flexible marketers. Robert Fader, vice president of Posman Books, told NPR that the company was able to react more nimbly than big chains like Barnes & Noble to the changes brought on by the growth of online shopping and digital books. “In five years’ time there will be more Posman Books in Manhattan than there will be Barnes & Nobles,” he says.
Listen: “One NYC Indie Bookstore Survives By Being Small And Specialized” by Lynn Neary.