Long Live Beautiful Books and the Independent Bookstores Who Sell Them!

Ever heard of Lev Grossman or The Magicians, lately adapted for television and with its second season airing on the Syfy channel? Not only is this a series steeped in cultural relevance and post-Millennium angst, but Grossman has become something of a leading defender of books and bookstores for our generation.

Last year, Grossman published an article in TIME titled The Death of the Bookstore Was Greatly Exaggerated. “There’s a delicious moribund melancholy about them,” he says about bookstores, but the facts give a very different—and happy!—outlook. Based on recent research published from the American Booksellers Association and other reputable sources, Grossman points out that bookstores—particularly independent bookstores—are thriving. After all, Americans still love and appreciate a beautifully designed book!

The numbers are going up, not down! As Grossman and others have pointed out in months’ past, sales through indie bookstores grew roughly 5% in the first quarter of 2016, and the numbers held steady throughout the year. Indie sales accounted for about 10% of all books sold “in 2015, up from 7% in 2014 according to the article. And while the news isn’t all rosy—Barnes & Noble lost 86 stores between 2009 and 2016, with sales at big box stores dipping in proportion, and booksellers in the United Kingdom are shoring up against small losses&mdash&;but Americans at least are demonstrating a heretofore-unseen loyalty to both physical, print books and the independent bookstores who sell them.

E-books aren’t going anywhere—and neither are print books. Their market shares have steadied, but since Americans are reading more books of all kinds there is steady growth in sales across the board! “The paper book,” writes Grossman, is “a piece of information technology that has, after all, been tested and honed over the past 2,000 years [and] has declined to give way.”

What does this have to do with you, a self-publishing author? Quite a lot, actually. As Grossman says, “Book-industry analysts talk a lot about ‘discovery,’ by which they mean the ways people find and purchase new books. It turns out, according to consumer research by Nielsen, that the best method for book discovery is still standing in a roomful of books” with the option to browse, at length, and stumble across books which a person wouldn’t otherwise encounter. And not every author, much less every self-publishing author, has the requisite skills, time, and energy to produce a book—print or digital—to take advantage of the indie bookstore’s long legacy and healthy prognosis.

At Outskirts Press, we have put together a team of professionals, including stellar graphic designers, who are committed to translating your dream to reality and to producing the best possible version of your book. We hope you’ll consider publishing with us, and if you have any questions you can find out more on our website (www.outskirtspress.com) or contact us by phone (1-888-672-6657)—or even live chat with us online! Our Publishing Consultants are on hand and eager to set you up for success as you brave the process of self-publishing!

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