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With Borders gone, holiday sales up at many indie bookstores

Inside Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor
Photo courtesy of Nicola's Books
Inside Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor

Holiday sales appear to be up at most independent bookstores in Michigan, thanks in part to the fact that one of their major competitors is no longer around.

Borders, the now defunct big bookstore chain, was often accused of killing the independent bookstore. But those indie bookstores that remain are now reaping the benefits of Borders demise.

"Yes, when Borders closed in our city, we did see an increase in our sales," says Amy Reynolds. She's the sales manager at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City.

Nicola Rooney owns Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, formerly home to three Borders Bookstores. She says holiday sales are way up this year compared to last year, and she says on the whole her store has seen "a huge increase in business this year."

And Rooney is positive Borders' closure has a lot to do with it:

"Because there are customers who come in and say: ‘You know, I haven’t been in here for a long time; I used to shop at Borders,' or ‘You know, I’ve never been here before because I used to shop at Borders.’ So we know there are people who are coming to find us ... who were habitual Borders’ shoppers."

Rooney, Reynolds and other booksellers we spoke with around the state say two other factors are likely cause for the increased sales: good weather, and an emphasis on shopping local.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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