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2012 From Cover To Cover: Book Stores In San Antonio

The book industry finally settled down in 2012, and thanks to a big push for buying local, independent book stores are feeling good about where they are right now -- and what 2013 may bring.

There are still worries about physical book store locations, especially since so many small stores closed during the recession and Borders, one of the majors, closed in 2011, but there is hope.

The book industry had overgrown itself -- much like the newspaper industry several years ago -- and as the recession forced many small independent stores to close, contraction narrowed the stores selling books and saved the industry from a long, slow collapse.

The Odd Couple: E-readers and Books

As it turned out, e-readers did not make print books obsolete, and the e-market has now settled into a comfortable place in the book industry; a place that actually helps book stores make better decisions on what to stock and how many copies to carry.

Since only a very small percentage of all books that have ever been printed are available on e-readers, there is still a huge market for printed books and the stores that sell them.

E-versions are also helping new authors make an inexpensive splash on the literary scene. New authors can self publish an e-version and have their work available for very cheap (or free), creating a grassroots buzz that can eventually lead to a publishing deal for hard copy books.

Susan Ee found success this year with her young adult e-book, "Angelfall," which was originally self published until Amazon Children's Publishing bought it, selling the e-book originally for $.99; the Kindle edition is now $5.79. When the print edition was released it was priced at $1.75 and is now $6.99. The second book in the series is scheduled for a Fall 2013 release.

The industry has found a way to make itself more self sustaining, with slim e-reader tablets working with old, yellowing pages wrapped in a dust jacket. This beautiful symbiotic relationship was incredibly unlikely, and several years ago was considered impossible.

However, this teamwork now embodies the essence of how, when embraced, change can be a force for good -- even for an industry that is over 1,000 years old.

Credit city-data.com
This 2009 income distribution info-map from city-data.com shows the higher income areas painted in yellow.

Book stores in San Antonio

Do a Google search for: "San Antonio book stores," and look at the map that is generated; pay close attention to the West, South and East Sides of San Antonio.

Though this type of search is not, in any way, a complete listing of all the book stores in San Antonio, it is a fairly good representation of the distribution, which exposes a noticeable lack of plots wrapping around the southern part of the city.

This distribution has a strong correlation to the distribution of household income in our city, and is more dense in areas where there is more discretionary income.

Over the next week, we will take a brief tour of four book stores in San Antonio. Each store was selected to provide a wide range of industry perspectives, and each provides a deeper look at all the things working for the book industry in 2012.

Keep in mind that this is not a complete picture of book stores in San Antonio and what makes them all successful. This series is intended to be a sample out of the many independent stores in the city and is not a direct endorsement of these particular stores; however, we are strong advocates for reading in all formats. Please leave us your thoughts, personal experiences with books/book stores and/or additional knowledge on each story in the comments section below.

My journalism journey began with an idea for a local art and music zine and the gumption to make it happen with no real plan or existing skill set.