Just a quick note of why I think independent bookstores are struggling, which is easily illustrated by two toys that were given to Women & Children First, the store where I work.
#1: A note to publishers: Don't send bookstores terrifying yellow plush monsters to try and get them to carry your book. When I receive a box with this crap in it, I throw the catalog away along with the little idiotic Weebeast. Give the money you spent on that weird promotional choice to your authors. They need it more than we need a turtle bird with prominent boobs and buttocks.
#2: A note to people who are worried about their local independent bookstore and trying to support it: Buy books at that store. Don't bring in a doll of Marcy from Married With Children, and then browse for a while and say you're going to order the books online from Amazon. Just buy books there. I happen to believe in the independent bookstore as a public space, and as much as I believe in the importance of growing online communities, there's something that just can't beat giving stickers to adorable kids, bonding over books in person, going to book release parties, or looking at a whole store of titles hand-picked by the people who work there.
Just some thoughts. And an ass-shot of Weebeast and Marcy to bring us on home: