At BookFinder.com, we spend half our time talking to book people, the other half with techies. It’s always interesting seeing the meeting of the two cultures explored.
Kepler’s Books & Magazines in Menlo Park, California, had one of the highest-profile bookstore closings in 2005. Or it would have, if it hadn’t been for a group of Silicon Valley investors who stepped in to save their favorite local bookstore.
Bo Burlingham, the author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big, has been writing an interesting series in Inc. magazine about what happened to Kepler’s, and the subsequent turnaround. The story’s nowhere near as feelgood as one might expect.
The first part, “Rewriting the Ending,” ran in the April 2006 issue of Inc. It describes Kepler’s slow descent, and the community campaign to save it.
Part 2’s on page 124 of the March 2007 issue of Inc., now on newsstands. (It should show up for free online in about a month or so.) In this latest episode, we learn that the mere addition of dot.com investors doesn’t work magic: the store still needs to deal with marketing, product mix, and low margins, and change doesn’t seem to come easily.
Update: The latest part of Burlingham’s series, “The Plot Thickens,” is now online and freely readable.
[Now reading Pretend We’re Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture by Annalee Newitz]Posted by Anirvan