December 1, 2013

Local bookstores face digital competition

PLATTSBURGH — Technology may be at the top of some Christmas lists, but local bookstore owners say their customers still like the feel of holding a paper book.

Art Graves, who has owned the Cornerstone Bookshop in Plattsburgh for nearly two years, said there is something special about holding an actual book.

“People come in here and it is a stress reliever for them to browse through the books, glance at the pages and decide on a good read,” he said. “You can see it on their faces that they are happy with what they have found.”


Graves said his store is a little different from a bookstore that sells all new books. The “gently used” books on his shelves become more and more cost effective the more they are read.

“Our book sales are competitive with eBooks,” he said. “It typically takes about three months for our customers to read a book, trade it back in and sell it again. We can reduce the cost each time and that is attractive to our clientele.”

Graves feels that younger generations will appreciate holding a paper book in their hands if they are read to at an early age. Parents bring their children to the bookshop for story-telling time and, while the young ones are entertained, the parent browses for books to take home. 

Bookstores, especially small ones, are up against eBooks, eReaders like Nook and other technology. At The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid, Marc Galvin, one of the owners, said the various activities promoted at the store draw people in to see what they have to offer.

“In a bricks-and-mortar building, as opposed to the Internet, you can hold parties, book signings, children’s story hour and become part of the community,” he said. “While we sell book downloads through eReader Kobo on our website, 99.9 percent of what we sell is print books.”

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