For every story like this:
"A Thirsty Mind bookstore/wine bar in Lakeway, Texas -- an affluent suburb of Austin -- is closing March 28. The store was opened in November 2004, and co-owner Pam Headrick said that while Thirsty Mind broke even each month, it would've taken another year for the store to become profitable. "With the economy as bad as it is, we just didn't have the luxury to put more money into the business," she said....Headrick said that opening a combination bookstore and wine bar posed unique challenges....there were the ‘regulars.’ “Some customers would come in each afternoon for a drink,” said Headrick. “This meant that almost every afternoon I was hosting a party. There days you just don't feel like it.”
... there's a story like this (thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link):
"Come May — give or take a few weeks — Skylight Books will open a second space right next door in the 1934 building at the corner of Vermont and Melbourne avenues, promises general manager and co-owner Kerry Slattery....Unlike the development pressures facing Doug Dutton's store and the high-end retail rent at South Coast Plaza, Skylight has "a supportive landlord who is offering us the space for a fair rent," she says. "Ours is a walking neighborhood," she explains. "People are going to other shops and restaurants, the movies. I don't know that there are that many places like that any more around the Los Angeles area."
On the one hand, an unexpected clientele and general economic squeeze puts the kibosh on one bookstore; on another, a great location and supportive neighborhood mean another one is expanding.
And, despite gloomy economic forecasts, there's also this:
"Bookstore sales in January started off the new year nicely, rising 4.7% to $2.3 billion from $2.2 billion in January 2007, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, total retail sales in January rose 3.9% to $343,938 billion."
Okay, it's not so fair and balanced -- I'm firmly partisan on the optimist side of the aisle. I think one day we might even get a majority. Congratulations, bookstores -- keep up the good work!