Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Closing of Wordsmiths

It takes an enormous amount of bravery to open an independent bookstore — especially a general bookstore — even in the best of times. Zach at Wordsmiths was no exception. He had a vision and fought hard to make it happen.

The entire publishing industry was hurting prior to the economic downturn last year, and now the situation for many is dire. Publishing houses are laying off significant numbers of editors and sales reps, stopping new acquisitions, closing imprints, and consolidating. Trade news regularly features the shutting of long-established independent bookstores. Shares in Barnes and Noble are trading at 1/3rd of their value in 2006. Borders is down about 98% during the same time period and is in danger of going under. I could go on.

Wordsmiths did a lot of things right. It had a devoted following, brought in tons of authors to our community, and even moved to a more visible location. It still wasn’t enough. Our hearts go out to Zach and his employees.


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