Readers Write: Indie booksellers must adapt; Bloomberg money vs. NRA members
Letters to the Editor for the May 6, 2013 weekly print issue: Independent booksellers also need to be active participants in the e-book world; In the gun debate, Mayor Bloomberg's wealth is giving him an outsized influence over the NRA's 4.5 million members.
Indie booksellers must adapt
East Windsor, N.J. and Colorado Springs, Colo. — The March 18 cover story, "Resurgence in the shelves," looks at "why many independent bookstores, once thought doomed ... are thriving." This fact is very good and certainly encouraging to those of us who want robust and varied bookstores in our communities and our culture. As a former "indie" who then sold for publishers to bookstores for nearly 30 years, my heart has always been with the great independent stores.
The growth in the past few years of American Booksellers Association (ABA) stores is welcome. But I wonder whether the surge in members and stores is due to new membership from a significant regional chain and also whether most of that growth came from indies adding a single new store or from relatively few stores expanding at a rapid pace.
Regardless, independent booksellers also need to be active participants in the e-book world. (Amazon's market share is alarming to me and many others.) We need alternatives to Amazon, and indies cannot sit on the sidelines. ABA's partnership with the e-reading company Kobo is thus encouraging. I hope that Kobo and the indies can be successful – for the sake of all.
East Windsor, N.J.
Bloomberg money vs. NRA members
I was struck by a juxtaposition in the article "Mr. Bloomberg's next battle" in the April 1 Focus section on gun control. The article looks at how New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his "super PAC" are "emerging as a main counterweight to the [National Rifle Association]," which has an annual budget of more than $300 million.
There are 4.5 million people who belong to the NRA, yet one man (with essentially unlimited financial resources) can negate all their political power. No matter which side of the gun-control debate one is on, this should seem unfair and alarming. This outsized influence of moneyed interests and lobbying is what is wrong with America and is the root cause of many of our problems. It is destroying our democracy.
Colorado Springs, Colo.