Actually, in Plano. But still, we do mean big — it’s the biggest independent to open anywhere in years.
Fireworks and dancing in the streets will be considered for later.
The developer of the six-year-old Shops at Legacy had wanted a bookstore, couldn’t get Borders for the deal, but found Terri Tanner instead — a veteran of both Borders and Barnes & Noble. Ms. Tanner is taking over a three-level, 24,000-square-foot space in the shopping center on the corner of the Dallas North Tollway and Legacy Drive, with the building to be designed by architect Morrison Seifert Murphy. Ms. Tanner is modeling Legacy Books on several of the classic successes among independent booksellers in the country, such as BookPeople in Austin and Elliott Bay in Seattle.
The opening will be in late summer.
For those who think, big deal, I get my books on Amazon and aren’t e-books the real future?
1) Amazon sells only about 10 percent of the total books purchased in America. Collectively, Wal-Mart, Costco and other discount warehouses are a much bigger factor (and actually a bigger threat to healthy independents). 2) For now (and the foreseeable future), Salman Rushdie doesn’t come to your town for a reading and a signing because you bought an e-book copy of his latest novel. When major authors tour Texas, they go to Austin’s BookPeople and maybe Houston’s Brazos Bookstore — and that’s it. They generally don’t come to Dallas-Fort Worth, even though the metroplex is actually the largest book market in the region. I wanted to interview Martin Amis and Julian Barnes for nearly 10 years as they produced novel after novel and toured the U.S. on four occasions. They made it to Austin several times; never got close to North Texas except, perhaps, to change planes at DFW. The only factor that has offset this fact has been Arts & Letters Live and other local literary series, which I maintain have succeeded precisely because the area is regularly neglected by authors and publishers.
Publishers send authors to major independent bookstores much more often than to chain stores because major independents can deliver an audience for them. Publishers are terrified of sending authors to an empty bookstore. As you might imagine, authors hate the experience. It makes them start thinking that maybe the publisher isn’t really supporting or marketing their books — and maybe they should get another publisher.
Major independents have developed devoted followings, they have tied themselves to the local reading community through the kind of “hand selling” (personal recommendations) and social events that online retailers can’t. An independent like the late, lamented Black Images Book Bazaar has even been a significant cultural factor in the community, bringing in speakers, providing a meeting site for local groups.
Even as webheads (and others with career investments in the web) keep chanting that digital is the future — the only future, all else must die — people (and companies) continually try to find ways to gather comfortably, sit, chat, read, listen to music, sip. This may not sound like the hip, zappy, dancefloor, speed-freak-crazy, sleep-with-sexy-strangers experience that advertisers love to shout about to twenty-somethings. And the bookstore of the future may well have a digital machine onsite that prints and then handsomely (or cheaply) binds books on demand, right there at the checkout counter for you.
But humans will remain social animals, sharing favorite authors with others will be a natural aspect of reading and sometimes just getting the hell out of the house for someplace quiet will remain a need. Basically, we pay a little more for books at a bookstore — more than we might online or at the always cozy and quietly stimulating Wal-Mart — for that pleasurable experience
That, and for knowledgeable staff members who can find books and recommend other authors for us.