Books: Supermarket for Books

What is happening to the old-fashioned U.S. bookstore? Answer: it is dying, and only a thinning line of browsers show so much as a damp eye. Last year saw the passing of some of the nation's oldest shops. Among them: one in Emporia, Kans., aged 59; another in Hanover, N.H., aged 27; another in Brookline, Mass., aged 29. Of the 1,000-odd members in the American Booksellers Association, says its executive secretary, Joseph Duffy, less than half "are worth a book salesman's call." Department stores, book clubs, newsstands, drugstores and supermarkets are forcing the bookshop out of business.

Without Tips. Even the surviving...

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