Though the pandemic caused financial hardship for many independent bookstores, particularly those in cities and states that forced retailers to close their doors for months, it has also paved the way for a mini-boom of bookstore openings…

…While acknowledging that the disruption of Covid has been challenging and that some bookstores are still struggling, Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, noted that “there’s also been growth in ABA membership.” She also pointed to “exciting trends in new stores—more diversity, location-independent formats, smaller sizes with room for growth—and an increased interest in nonprofit and co-op models.”

Since the membership numbers were presented by ABA president Bradley Graham, co-owner of D.C.’s Politics and Prose, at the annual meeting in May, they have been readjusted upward due to delays in renewals caused by Covid. Membership and locations rose from 1,701 and 2,100 respectively to 1,910 and 2,496 for 2021.