Retailing: Hooked on Books

Only a few years ago, requiems were being performed over the retail book trade in the U.S. Time-consuming TV and the faster pace of modern life, feared the booksellers, would pre-empt serious reading. The book clubs with their vast mail-order lists and, most of all, the price-cutting discount houses were challenging the conventional bookstore. Leonard Schwartz, president of Manhattan-based Brentano's, predicted that many booksellers would not survive discounting.

They have not only survived— they are thriving as never before. Sales by traditional booksellers (excluding discounters) rose 9% last year to $148...

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