Jan 07, 2009

Stacey's Floored by Technical KO


After 85 years in business, Stacey's Bookstore will be calling it quits in March. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the independent book seller, located near San Francisco's Financial District, is one more casualty due to our damaged economy. Since March 2001, the store's sales have dropped by 50 percent, and their 2008 fourth-quarter sales were down 15 percent from those in 2007.

The closing of bookstores, alas, is nothing new as of late. But what makes this one especially interesting is that Stacey's made its name as a specialist in technical books. To quote the Chronicle:

Even today, the store has sections on engineering, chemistry, construction manuals, and complex math and science texts, though they only account for 15 percent of the sales. [General Manager Tom] Allen said the era when technical books were obscure has vanished.

In many cases, "information available on the Web has made it unnecessary to buy a book on a technical subject," said Allen, who has worked at the store for the past 11 years.

But how true is that? Do folks no longer rely on getting their technical information from paper-and-glue books? Or do they overwhelmingly prefer buying those books online rather than from bookstores? Or is it a combination of those things??

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Josh Williams's picture

Ironic, since Stacey's original focus was on providing technical information (medical books).

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