When Kepler’s in Menlo Park announced they were closing there was an uproar and eventually a white knight saved them, and when DeLauer’s in Oakland announced they were closing there was media coverage and eventually a white knight. Today it is Stacey’s in San Francisco and right on schedule, uproar and “how could this happen!”. No white knight yet but I would not be surprised.
Like other independent book sellers, Stacey’s had been hurt over the past decade by the rise of national chains, like Barnes & Noble, and Web-based booksellers, such as Amazon.com. The store’s general manager, Tom Allen, said sales had dropped 50 percent since March 2001.
The usual arguments are “fabric of a community” and how we are all dumber as a consequence of Amazon and WalMart, along with teary eyed nostalgia for the Victorian quaintness of the corner bookstore. All of it is more than I can bear.
The only reason I go to a bookstore today is for children’s books. The notion of browsing for books is really over-rated, given that I’ve found more interesting books on Amazon using their tools than I ever did walking the aisles. Amazon hasn’t been growing because of cheap prices, it’s their customer experience and shear breadth of product that wins the day.
Lastly, speaking of books, I’ve been meaning to write about Chegg for a while now but just haven’t had the time to dig into it. In a sentence, Chegg is Netflix for textbooks.