In Westhampton Beach, NY, the answer might be yes. Newcomer indie bookstore Books & Books, which opened in July, is giving established indie bookstore The Open Book some competition, and not everyone is happy. The New York Times reports:
Terry Lucas, a librarian and the owner of the Open Book, which she founded in 1999, said Books & Books is on a course to put her already struggling store out of business.
The dueling bookstores have caused a bit of summer drama in this quiet, laid-back town on the south fork of Long Island, where much of the commercial activity happens on Main Street, a tidy stretch lined with restaurants, real estate offices and boutiques.
“You’d think the thing that was going to kill the little town bookstore was the e-reader,” said Glenn Dorskind, a high school English teacher and friend of Ms. Lucas’s. “But the thing that’s killing it is another bookstore.”
I’m lucky enough to live in Boston, which can support a number of independent bookstores. But in a smaller town, the market might be too small for more than one. Should indie bookstores try and spread themselves around? Or should this be a case of free-market survival-of-the-fittest?