Books in Nashville: WPLN and The Economist Weigh In

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Bookstores — how do they work? More specifically, how do they work in Nashville? Well, The Economist asked both those questions, sort of, in a piece that ran yesterday titled "Borders and bankruptcy: Goodbye to bricks and mortar." To wit:

Nashville, Tennessee, is still reeling from several bookstore closings, including a Borders and the more beloved Davis-Kidd. The result, as reported in the Nashville Scene, is an “object lesson in how truly awful it is to live in a town where used bookstores and the pitiful offerings of Books-a-Million are all we have.” The problem, however, is that no one seems willing to buy full-price books anymore. Campaigns to get people to buy books from their local bookstores — such as “Save Bookstores Day” on June 25th — miss the point. While there is demand for real bricks-and-mortar places to gather, drink coffee and read new books, such places can’t exist if the market can’t accommodate them.

Hey, remember my idea for National Bookstore Day? Anyway, something about this explode-y holiday must have got everyone thinking about ink and paper — we've had books on the brain lately, too — because this morning WPLN ran Nina Cardona's story "21st Century Bookselling," which touches on how the downtown library — through its Salon @ 615 series — has helped fill the power vacuum created when Davis-Kidd up and vanished, Bookman/Bookwoman's role in the buy-back trade and how Ann Patchett figures into all this. (Related: Barnes and Noble is teaming up with Vandy at the old Borders location on West End.)

Now that Nashville's up to speed with the national (depressing) trend, we have a chance to display some of that pluck and exceptionalism we're known for — we're off the charts in other areas involving talent and creativity. After all. There's an awful lot at stake.

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