The number of members of the American Booksellers' Association is slowly creeping up, a welcome sign after a steep decline from 5500 members in 1995 to 2191 in 2002. ABA is comprised of indie booksellers, and though the dominant narrative has it that the indies were slaughtered by Amazon, the numbers suggest that the decline had more to do with the rise of the big-box chain-stores (ironically, these are dead [Borders] or dying [B&N] and were almost certainly killed by Amazon).
More interesting is why the number of indie bookstores is growing:
Amazon doesn’t do author events or signings, their discoverability is still atrocious compared to a physical location, and their promotions with smaller publishers are nearly nonexistent. If Amazon is successful in driving physical bookstores out of business (which is their ultimate goal, let’s be realistic), it is highly likely that a smaller-name author would see a drastic drop in sales.
Amazon Slayed a Negative 77 Indie Bookstores in 2012 [Nate Hoffelder/The Digital Reader]