The Path to Bookstore Success

About Knoxville not supporting independent bookstores ["Book Keeping," cover story by Coury Turczyn, Nov. 11, 2010, and a Dec. 3, 2010 Ask Doc Knox blog post]:

If it's any help, I think I know (Denver indie bookstore) The Tattered Cover's secret: They've built an adjacent parking garage next to their store with ridiculously narrow lanes and spaces. Once a potential customer has completed the feat of actually parking without having to file an insurance claim, he is forced to recuperate—sweating and twitching—from the trauma in a quiet corner of the bookstore for hours. And then the dark reality sets in, which is that he/she will have to repeat the business in the parking garage again upon exiting. A natural progression of thought occurs: I think I'll stay here for a very long time. If I keep buying books, nobody will mind. In fact, maybe I'll just live here. Do you know how many people are probably living at The Tattered Cover right now simply because they know they do not have the skills to get out of the parking garage?

I'm convinced that the key to any successful business is a sort of imprisonment, and you can take that to the bank.

Shannon French

Knoxville