An article in The Book Standard details how Wal-Mart is planning to reach out to (rather than destroy) community businesses it resides next to. Specifically, they touch on indie bookstores:

“It’s difficult to compete with Wal-Mart on price,” admitted Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman, “but there are some things a small business can do that [Wal-Mart] can’t.” For instance, independent bookstores can provide a specific niche in the market or have literary programs like author readings.

Excuse me, but niche market!? Seems like Wal-Mart (as it so often does) has things precisely backwards. Aren’t independent bookstores stocking a broad range of thousands of titles, whereas Wal-Mart is stocking the same 20 bestsellers that you can pick up at finer supermarkets and airports across the country?

I’m wondering what brings in more customers–the megasellers at Wal-Mart or the collective range of books at an independent bookstore? Not to mention, don’t these niche indies stock many of the same titles you can get at Wal-Mart? (Just because they’re independent doesn’t mean they don’t sell the books that regularly top The New York Times bestseller list.)

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