Bookstore Privilege


Good literary citizens shop at local independent bookstores, and Amazon’s ongoing trade war with Hachette underscores the fragility of a marketplace dominated by a single online retailer. But are local bookstores just another form of privilege? Kelly Jensen writing at BookRiot explains what its like to live in a book desert:

Not all readers have access to brick and mortar stores. Not all readers have the capability to walk to their local indie or their local Barnes & Noble or their local Books A Million or their local Chapters and buy books in person. Not all readers have the ability to get in a car, fill up their gas tanks, and spend an hour driving each way to a store. Not everyone lives in a great city, not everyone lives near a great city, and not every great city is a great city for bookstores.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →