A great article by Kea Wilson for strongtowns.org about the value added to a town by the presence of an independent bookstore. I found this particular bit of information very enlightening:
Independent bookstores often employ relatively large staffs, at least in comparison to their chain and no-box counterparts. The Institute for Local Self Reliance reports that for every $10 million in sales, local bookstores create 47 jobs. Contrast that with Amazon, which creates just 19, and you might realize that quirky girl hand-selling you a book of poetry is a representative of a powerful economic engine. (And before you ask: the bookstores in my region, at least, pay a living wage, and many offer strong employee benefits, from paid health insurance premiums to a monthly book credit and all the advanced reader copies you could want. I’m still working my way through my free book stash.)
My dream still is and always will be to start my own independent bookstore. Sometimes I research open retail space in nearby towns. I still haven't found the right spot and I have no idea what I'd do if I ever did. I still have thousands in student loans outstanding, as well as a family to feed.
But the dream lives on. Maybe one day.