Robert Reich in an article in the New York Times called "Don't Blame Wal-Mart" made this comment, "The problem is, the choices we make in the market don't fully reflect our values as workers or as citizens. I didn't want our community bookstore in Cambridge, Mass., to close (as it did last fall) yet I still bought lots of books from Amazon.com."
This got me to thinking about the whole discussion about the need for independent bookstores. Here in flyover country the death of bookstores to Barnes and Nobles and Borders is not seen as much. In many areas of flyover country when a Border's or Barnes and Nobles opened it was the first good bookstore to be available to people. The bookstores that did tend to get shut down by the bigger stores coming in was the Walden Books at the mall. Walden Books is not exactly "The Strand" or "Powells" so when they folded there was not a huge sense of loss. In my area most of the independent booksellers are used book dealers and those shops still exist so the incoming Borders just added to the diversity but did not subtract from it.
Here is a hypothetical. There is a bookstore called Joe's Books that is independent. Joe's Books is your favorite bookstore and it has everything you look for in a bookstore. What does Joe's have? Tell me what items you would look for in a bookstore. If I could just wave a magic wand and drop a bookstore into your town that meets all your needs and expectations what would it contain? What services would it offer? What books would it carry? How big would it be?