Rebuttal- PitandThePendulum

“The REAL Reason for the
Independent Bookstore’s Demise” 

As the independent bookshop begins its gradual return into the world of retail, Amazon still remains to be the scapegoat for the industry’s gradual collapse. That, however, is an incredibly oversimplified assessment of an issue that stems not only in the economic world, but in the social and psychological sphere as well. The rise of social media giants and their subsequent impact on the attention span, coupled with the pandemic and the economic crisis that followed it, can be factored in as a few alternate reasons for the collapse of the small book business. 

In the case of the downfall of small book businesses, one needs to look no further than social media. It comes as no surprise that as social media began to grow, the number of readers began to shrink. As new social media apps began to surface, such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc, the world began to turn away from pages and towards screens. Research conducted amongst senior high school students at San Diego State University showed that 60% of seniors reported reading as a hobby in the 1970s. The same study was conducted again in 2016, and the results showed that only 16% of students reported doing so. Overall, it was estimated that only 1 in 3 students in the U.S engage in leisurely reading. Online ‘e-readers’ (those who indulge in online articles that do not qualify as e-books) can be found on hundreds of sites and apps that boast engaging, short-content that can be accessed either on mobile devices or computers (some of these sites include Reddit, The Washington Post, and other sites rife with content). A study conducted by the Wall Street Journal suggests that part of the reason engagement in attention-consuming activities like reading has gone down is due to society’s need for instant gratification. 

As of 2021, 34% of American small businesses are still closed as a result of COVID. With approximately 99.9% of small businesses in America identifying as small businesses, and occupying 47.3% of the country’s private workforce, the loss of these businesses have threatened not only the nation’s economy, but the financial stability of many American citizens. Small bookstores make up only a small amount of businesses effected by the pandemic and its subsequent lockdown, and while Indie bookstores have begun to utilize social media in order to boost engagement and revenue, the effect of social media on the average user’s attention span has been drastic. As these stores try to boost their engagement, they can’t guarantee that their viewers will ever engage with them beyond one simple like over the internet.


Natanson, Hannah (2018) “Yes, teens are texting and using social media instead of reading books, researchers say”,

Ghosh, Iman (2021) “34% of America’s small businesses are still closed due to COVID-19. Here’s why it matters”,

O’Brien, Reese (2022) “Indie Bookstores’ COVID Recovery: Leveraging TikTok and”,

Wall Street Journal (2022) “Why Are Our Attention Spans Shortening?”,

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4 Responses to Rebuttal- PitandThePendulum

  1. I could really use some help getting started on the right track, Professor.


    • davidbdale says:

      This should really be in Feedback Please if you want to get my attention, PitAndThePendulum!


    • davidbdale says:

      I can’t tell from your argument WHICH SIDE you endorse and WHICH ARGUMENT is the Rebuttal to YOUR ARGUMENT.

      Without doubt, Amazon and other online booksellers caused big sales losses for brick-and-mortar bookstores. I know your overall hypotheses is a Proposal that physical bookstores transform themselves into more “experiential” venues. You seem to want to diminish the impact of Amazon in this rebuttal argument, but is that your true intention, or are you just eloquently defending your “opponent’s” point of view? I can’t tell.

      You could go either way, as we discussed in your Conference.
      1. You could minimize Amazon’s impact, as you have here, by identifying the many OTHER factors that have cost bookstores sales.
      2. OR, you could list all the MANY REASONS book sales have declined (the same list as the FACTORS above), but then, instead of using those factors to let Amazon off the hook, you suggest that the stores could have survived ALL OF THAT, until Amazon came along and sucked up all the customers who still actually buy books. Amazon, in other words, was the nail in the coffin.


  2. davidbdale says:

    Disappointed to see no revisions following feedback. You appear to be refuting your own Causal argument. Maybe it will all come out clean in the Research Paper.
    Graded SAT APR 29.


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