BUTTE - While the pandemic has been tough on the economy, independent bookstores are doing well in Butte, whose Uptown currently has three small bookstores.
“People are readers, contrary to stereotypes of Butte,” said Second Edition Books owner Ann Finch-Johnston.
Books and Books owner Medellee Antonioli added, “Communities are supporting bookstores and they want bookstores and that is causing sort of a revitalization of the book industry honestly.”
Second Edition Books on Montana Street has been in business 35 years and recorded one of their best years in 2020. The store saw sales from many tourists.
“So many people came to Montana because they couldn’t travel internationally or they came to Montana because we had such a low infection rate this summer, we probably saw more tourists this year than other years as well,” said Finch-Johnston.
The new owner of Books and Books and Park Street thinks the pandemic may have had something to do with increased book sales, because people are burnt out by screen time and would rather read a real book.
“You don’t want to stare at your screen anymore, we’re all experiencing this right now, there is fatigue staring at a screen,” said Antonioli.
Bookstore owners find that many customers not only enjoy in-store browsing for books, but also are passionate about talking about books with others who are passionate about books.
“I mean, we just had some customers in and we spent 20 minutes chatting about what books we’ve read and what we thought each other would like and sharing that information in such an organic and beautiful way that’s what bookstores provide. You’re not going to get that from Amazon, even; you’re not going to get if from, largely, from the some of the big boxes either,” said Antonioli.