How ‘Indie’ Bookstores Survived (and Thrived)

In 2012, Publishers Weekly chose E. L. James as its Person of the Year. James’s Fifty Shades soft-porn trilogy was a sensation that boosted global print and e-book revenues, with at least 100 million copies sold (and counting). According to Forbes, James topped its annual list of bestselling authors with earnings of $95 million, including movie rights.

This year’s selection for PW's Person of the Year represents a wholly different approach to the honor. It is Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, and the ABA's board of directors, the organization that represents the country's independent book stores. The fact that these traditional brick-and-mortar, mainly locally owned bookstores are being recognized as outstanding contributors to publishing is not merely a sympathetic gesture to old-fashioned commerce in a generally downward trajectory. The accolade is justified by results defying the odds that so heavily favor the Amazon juggernaut and the chain stores, still led by (the struggling) Barnes & Noble.

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