Note: At last weekend's meeting of the board of NAIBA (the regional booksellers's assocation of which I am an executive board member), secretary Eileen Dengler "comissioned" a piece for the upcoming NAIBA newsletter. This is something I've had on my mind lately, so it was a great motivation to write out my thoughts, and Eileen graciously agreed to let me cross-post it here. Your comments are most welcome. Bookstores in Bad Times At this particular moment, it’s a challenge to be an idealist and an optimist: two labels I’ve embraced as I’ve found my calling as an independent bookseller. Newspaper headlines, daily sales totals, and our own tightening belts tell us that things are tough, and getting tougher. As we head into the holiday season, where most of us make 40% of our yearly sales, it can seem logical to throw up our hands and wait for the apocalypse. But booksellers are tough, and relish a challenge. And somehow I keep finding reasons to be optimistic.