Shop shows faith in bound volumes

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

There are businesses, even in the 21st-century United States, built on the sales of bound volumes of printed paper from shelves in old-fashioned, bricks-and-mortar shops. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.


Shop shows faith in bound volumes

BUY THE BOOK: Books on the Square Manager Jennifer Kandarian rings up Katherine Schoppel of Providence. The bookstore founded in 1992 is a brick-and-mortar survivor specializing in fiction and children’s books.

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 7/28/14

There are businesses, even in the 21st-century United States, built on the sales of bound volumes of printed paper from shelves in old-fashioned, bricks-and-mortar shops.

They are now survivors of digital technology that sells books without them, or sells the words and thoughts they contain, book and paper free.

Books on the Square in Providence’s Wayland Square eluded oblivion in 2007, when current owners Rodney and Mercedes Clifton bought it out of receivership.

“There haven’t been a lot of changes, and that is a positive,” said Books on the Square store Manager Jennifer Doucette, when asked to reflect on the store over the years. “A big change probably would mean a lot of us wouldn’t be here.”

As it has been for more than 20 years, Books on the Square remains a general bookstore with a strong focus on fiction and children’s books. The store has a children’s specialist and most of the rear half of the store is dedicated to younger readers.

Readings from local authors, book signings and story times for kids are big parts of the weekly routine, as are providing personalized recommendations on what books are new, great or well-suited to each reader.

But that’s not to say nothing has changed at Books on the Square or that the business has totally resisted digital technology.

The store has a website and several years ago it deployed Google Books, a sales portal run by the Internet search giant.

Google took the bulk of each sale, and when it decided to stop working with independent bookstores, that experiment came to an end, Doucette said.

Books on the Square is changing its website to a new platform created by the American Booksellers Association this summer. Currently the site’s most active function is a form to order books, for in-store pickup.

Doucette said the store is watching partnerships some Boston bookstores have made with e-reader companies, such as Kobo, to see if that could be a potential fit.

Books on the Square was founded by Sarah Zacks, a book lover who worked at College Hill Books for a few years before opening her store, Doucette said.

Before the Internet, big chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble put many independent bookstores out of business, but Books on the Square endured and in 2002 opened a second downtown location at the corner of Empire and Washington Streets.

Next Page
PBN Hosted

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
    Latest News