One More Page: Starting a Bookstore in a Recession

Welcome to Indie Thursday, a new-to-me feature where I profile one local bookstore a month. (Indie Thursday is a meme begun by Jenn’s Bookshelves to celebrate local authors and booksellers.) This month, I’ll be writing about Arlington’s One More Page Books & More, owned and operated by Eileen McGervey.

“I am not crazy,” Eileen McGervey says.

Dressed in a soft pink sweater, black stretch pants, and sneakers, she never seems to stop moving; she pushes her short, curly hair out of her eyes as she scoots a table and chairs into a corner of the room. She’s preparing for an author event.

A short walk away from the East Falls Church metro, One More Page joined restaurants and bars located in new condominium complexes in a burgeoning Northern Virginia neighborhood in January 2011.

“People come in and say”—McGervey affects a soft, polite whisper—“‘Wow, I can’t believe you’re doing this.’ They’re kind of half-happy that you did it but half-think that you’re crazy.” And she’s not, she insists.

Sure, McGervey opened the store in the middle of a recession. Yes, other bookstores—from local favorites like Olsson’s, Lambda Rising, and Trover Shop to enormous chains like Borders—have recently folded after decades of business. And make no mistake; the online giant Amazon shows no signs of slowing its rapid takeover of media sales. Added to all that: This is McGervey’s first job in retail.

So it’s easy to see why residents of Arlington, Va., are surprised to see a new bookstore open with a retail newbie at the helm. Yet McGervey remains optimistic.

And she has reason to be. Despite doom-and-gloom predictions about the uncertain future of books, all bookstore sales of new books increased by an average of 2.8 percent last year, while sales in the same period for independent booksellers rose by 7 percent.

Sounds more like a victory march than a death knell.

Stay tuned for more posts this month about One More Page Books & More, including how McGervey supports local authors, why she sells wine and chocolate, and how the community has reacted to their latest bookseller.

5 replies »

  1. I just opened an Indie bookstore as well and its nice to know that other people feel like now is the time to open!


  2. Looking forward to the rest of the articles about One More Page. It is far and away my favorite bookstore, mostly because of the wonderful staff. And because every bottle of wine I’ve gotten there has been superb.


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