from The San Jose Mercury News

Berkeley: Independent bookstores adapt to keep customers

By Tom Lochner

Steve Lehman, a regular shopper at Pegasus Books, peruses the offerings at the independent bookstore on Solano Ave. in Berkeley, Calif., on Tuesday, April(Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

BERKELEY — Battered by global economic forces, rising commercial rents, online buying and other changes in consumer behavior, many independent bookstores today are devising ever more creative solutions to stay in business.

Some don’t make it or simply give up — in Berkeley, Shakespeare & Co., Black Oak Books and William Stout Architectural Books closed within the last year, although the latter remains in business at its main store in San Francisco.

But many independent bookstores are experiencing a renaissance, reinventing themselves as literary community gathering venues, places not only to buy books but also to discuss them, meet their authors, listen to readings, and sometimes just to have fun.

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