What Would Powell’s Do?

by Kimberly A. Cook            (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

The publishing and epub industry is heaving like the Titanic, with publishers and agents trying to rearrange the band, the deck chairs and the captain’s table. Some writers have been caught in steerage, of course. A good thing to do in any storm is to check on what the independent bookstore ships are doing. One small business article this past Friday caught my eye.

Our beloved www.Powells.com Books here in Portland, Oregon, a mega-independent bookseller, is always worth watching. The article talked about how the former site of Powell’s Technical Bookstore is being proposed for demolition to become a “seven-story, 60-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail storefronts,” according to www.oregonlive.com

The article goes on to say the Technical Bookstore “vacated the site in 2010 and moved to a smaller location” across the street from the main Powell’s bookstore.  Notice the “smaller location” for technical books? See them moving into real estate and diversifying their revenue streams?

The Powell family presents their $7 million project proposal today to the city of Portland through their development firms.  The fun new project will come complete with a bicycle parking room and no on-site parking.  Who needs to park when you can walk to the bookstore?

Besides thinking book lovers might want to get in line to sign up for an apartment a short saunter from a block large book treasure, it brings to mind the changes in our industry. If one of the largest independent bookstores in the country is going into real estate development, what does that say to the writing community?

Me thinks we authors have slipped the bonds of steerage and escaped into the epub lifeboats. Grab an oar and let’s row!

Full Article Here: http://www.oregonlive.com/front-porch/index.ssf/2012/04/apartment_building_planned_at.html

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