Perhaps the unfortunate demise of chains like Borders Books has opened the proverbial window of opportunity for independent bookstores to step in to fill the void. One such store, Battenkill Books in Cambridge, New York, should serve as a model for all mom and pop’s looking for a way to adapt and remain relevant in a world torn between traditional paper and digital books.
I first heard of Battenkill Books from the writer Jon Katz, a vocal supporter of independent bookstores and libraries. Mr. Katz frequently mentions Battenkill in his popular blog and actively participates in store events. He’s not shy about requesting that his readers order copies of his books through its website, and as incentive he’s spent countless hours personalizing each book. Sales this past holiday season were phenomenal, and the mother and daughter who run Battenkill plan to sign up other authors for similar promotions.
To be sure, Battenkill has embraced the digital age by offering ebooks alongside the paper variety. This store has found a way to adapt to the changing marketplace, and one can only hope that it enjoys much future success. One doesn’t have to be a big-box chain to offer the same quality product. Doesn’t it feel more satisfying to buy from one’s neighbor than support a corporate headquarters located who-knows-where?