Independent bookstores resurge in the digital era

Global Business

So called brick and mortar bookstores, especially independent ones, took a painful hit when digital sites like Amazon came online. But, local bookstores are going through resurgence for a variety of reasons – surprisingly because of the internet.

CCTV’s May Lee has the story.

At Vroman’s, Southern California’s oldest independent bookstore, rows and rows of shelves are stocked with every kind of book imaginable. Open for 122 years, it has survived world wars, depressions, recessions and, most recently, the digital age.

After years of economic challenges due to the rise of on-line sites like Amazon, independent bookstores are making a comeback. Their numbers rose 21 percent from 2010 to 2015.

It seems customers are willing to pay up to 30 percent more in exchange for the physical experience of browsing, as well as other in-store enticements like events and gift shops.

One of the most unique shops, which happens to also be one of the largest in the world, is here in downtown Los Angeles. It’s called The Last Bookstore. The name is ironic since the business has not only survived, but continues to thrive year after year.

What started in a downtown loft in 2005 has grown into a massive 2,000 square meter (21,500 square feet) space with more than 250,000 new and used books, as well as music and art.

The internet, once the mortal enemy of bookstores, is now playing a large role in boosting business for The Last Bookstore, especially through social media.

It is doing its best to defy its namesake for as long as it can.