In spite of whatever Luddite misgivings we may secretly (or not so secretly) harbor here at the Maine Coast Book Shop, we've lately been trying to maximize our internet exposure. It seemed like a good idea to revive our long-dormant blog.
Like most participants in the publishing world, the book store has faced some major upheavals over the past couple of years, and it's probably safe to say that we're currently at something of a crossroads, both as an individual and independent business and as a component of a larger industry. The arrival and rise in popularity of digital editions of books has of course been a factor in this atmosphere of change, but of more immediate concern to us as an independent bookstore is the presence of chain stores, who for diplomatic reasons shall remain nameless. (You know who they are.) The aggressive pricing and seemingly ubiquitous and insidious nature of these big-box stores have created an uncertain and sometimes discouraging environment in which small, independent stores are forced to compete. Publishers are forced to sell books at huge discounts, meaning that their profit margins drop across the board, and authors in turn are offered less profitable contracts. It's a difficult situation for everyone.
Handling the changes in store for the industry for us so far has been a matter of reinforcing what makes us unique. We're still working on making some changes to the store and strengthening those aspects of it that we feel are exemplary, and for the time being, negotiating our place in the grand scheme of things will be an ongoing endeavor. However, we have plenty of reasons to be optimistic, among them an extraordinarily loyal and appreciative customer base, for which we are eternally grateful. (You know who you are, too.)
That's the short version of our recent history. Keep an eye on this spot for all manner of miscellany- news about upcoming events, sales, notes about what we're reading, what our local book clubs are up to, and the occasional random observation.