"A city that will become the world capital of books and that would see its independent bookstores close one after the other, it would be bad timing," laments Eric Schultz, the manager of the bookstore La Tache noire, in Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin), a city that also welcomed Gutenberg, the inventor of printing.
Opened in 2018, this brand specializing in the sale of crime novels has been going through a critical period in recent months. "Since February, we have been suffering from inflation. Paper and book prices have increased, which creates tensions with distributor networks to negotiate our margins," explains the fifty-year-old. Result: the Black Spot struggles to honor its rent but also the invoices of suppliers, and accumulates nearly 25,000 euros in debts.
"Independent bookstores need to be better exposed"
"I launched an online fundraiser at the beginning of September to call for solidarity from our loyal customers but also all lovers of detective novels," says Eric Schultz. In just over two weeks, the outpouring of generosity has borne fruit with already several thousand euros raised. "I hope that we will be able to continue to operate, but independent bookstores must be better exposed and we will ask the town hall to be part of the event Strasbourg, world capital of books," announces the manager.
While the Alsatian city is to host the 24th edition of this event organized by UNESCO, the situation of independent bookstores is worrying. Located a few hundred meters from the Black Spot, another sign also sticks out its tongue. The Rare Bird also encouraged customers on Facebook to come back and buy books in his bookstore.