It’s been a thoroughgoingly crappy year for local booksellers—first Karibu, then Olsson’s. Now Vertigo Books, which moved from Dupont Circle to College Park in 2001, has posted a plea for help to its customers:
Why are we struggling? It may be a perfect storm:
* Market forces have not been kind to independent businesses and competition from internet and chain booksellers is keen.
* DC area residents use the internet more than many areas.
* An entire generation has grown up believing that Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon are the only places to buy books and this matters in a college town.
* The area lacks a coherent Buy Local effort that makes consumers aware of the real cost of chains.
Sales in 2008 are down substantially over last year. Vertigo Books simply cannot survive only on good wishes and fond thoughts.