Independent Bookstores

Many writers champion the small local bookstore. They relish the atmosphere, they cherish the support of their local bookseller, they pray that their store will somehow stay open. Sadly, a cozy atmosphere alone doesn't seem to be enough to keep many coming. But contrary to the gloomy atmosphere surrounding print publishing, there are still independent bookstores that are doing well. How can this be?

Rachel Cooke reminds us that “sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it.” Very few people go to Amazon to browse for books; usually you know what you want before you get there, which limits how much you’re going to leave with.

Amazon does not set the synapses crackling the way the sight of a pristine shelf of books does: it does not surprise you, nor does it fuel book hunger. You click on what you came for, and then you leave. This, then, is where the independent store, with its carefully edited collection, comes in. Lutyens & Rubinstein has been open just seven weeks but things are going twice as well as its owners expected. "We are a local shop," says Rubinstein. "But we are also one with deep expertise and good taste."