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Letters: In Bookselling Today, Struggles and Successes

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To the Editor:

Re “Let’s Hope Barnes & Noble Can Survive,” by David Leonhardt (column, May 7):

Here’s another reason to agree with Mr. Leonhardt’s wish: free author events.

At the Barnes & Nobles in New York City, I’ve been lucky enough to hear Colson Whitehead, Dave Barry, Toni Morrison, Khaled Hosseini, Colm Tóibín, Elizabeth Strout, Jane Hamilton, Will Schwalbe, Kate Atkinson, Ethan Canin and Sue Grafton, among others. No need to even R.S.V.P. After their inspiring talks, I buy their books, get them signed and sometimes jump in for a selfie.

As an author, I’ve also appreciated the chance to speak at Barnes & Nobles nationwide. That poster in the window sells books. And in Columbus, Ohio, Annie and John Glenn walked into the cafe. Apparently they were regulars.

Brick-and-mortar bookstores enrich our communities and need our support. Next baby shower, give board books. Next birthday, give a coffee-table book. Going to a dinner party? Give the hosts a book you love instead of a bottle of wine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with wine.)

CAROL WESTON, NEW YORK

To the Editor:

As David Leonhardt points out, the large chain bookstores have suffered in recent years, but he doesn’t mention that, remarkably, independent bookstores are flourishing because of loyal bands of customers who love them dearly.

I have the time and so will often forgo ordering books online and make the trip to the excellent Diane’s Books of Greenwich to buy the book I am looking for. This I am free to do as a private citizen and participant in a free-market system and without needing the government to punish Amazon for being successful.

As the president and every real Republican should know, protecting a competitor from competition only weakens the competitor.

MARGARET MCGIRR
GREENWICH, CONN.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/opinion/bookselling-barnes-noble.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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