As per a city count, there are less than 80 bookstores in the bustling New York City. Just like how payphones and typewriters became obsolete and disappeared slowly and gradually, book stores in New York are disappearing. Back in 1950, Manhattan had 386 bookstores which have reduced to 106 by the end of the year 2015. There used to be around 50 antiquarian bookstores between Union Square and Astor Place and now there is only one left.
One of the most popular and what you might consider the core of the city’s theatre community declared that they would be closing the book store since they could no longer afford the rent. Although many people tried to raise funds it still ended up closing down and the people who worked there are still in search of a place where they could find a cheaper location.
Basically, small book stores are now being squeezed out of the pictures as well since the truth is that Americans are not interested in reading so much anymore. The reading class of America is diminishing day by day according to sociologists. The main reason being excessive use of smart gadgets, also rather than reading in hard copy, e-books and tablets are the ones that are becoming the center of attention.
According to Caleb Crain, the society of today is turning back to the time before the advent of mass literacy. The rate at which the bookstores in New York are disappearing just shows the sad and grim truth of society.
Since book stores require more space for storage and also they work on a small margin, the increase in rent is causing more and more shutdowns of book stores. This is considered the main reason, at least in New York. Another major issue that is faced by people who run book stores is that the landlord besides doubling or tripling the rent also refuses to renew the lease once it ends. What can a store owner do in such a situation besides closing the store?
Also, landlords are forcing the tenants to move out of the buildings as an empty building would bring more profit when sold. To start new businesses or investing in something else this is the basic strategy that is being used.
According to Jeremiah Moss, the solution to these problems is the commercial rent control and vacancy tax on commercial spaces. Also another effective solution is to get a bill called the ‘Small Business Jobs Survival Act’. This bill allows tenants to renew their lease for 10 years straight, also this bill also gives tenants the right to negotiate with their landlords on rental issues. This is the ideal solution for small-time businesses and running a book store comes under this category. Although this bill can discourage landlords from renting the place to small time business owners in the first place.
It would really be heartrending if the works of so many authors would be published but there won’t be a place to buy them.