Saturday, July 28, was the final day of a remarkable three-day process to reinvent Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, Calif. Some 80 booksellers, community leaders, publishers, authors and customers sat in a large conference room in the Oshman Family JCC, buzzing with new determination — even a touch of anger.

Armed with dozens of strips of paper, masking tape and glue sticks, the participants quickly distilled their previous 14 hours of discussion to eight foundational principles and activities. The new Kepler’s Books must:

  1. Be financially sustainable.

  2. Have a clearly defined mission.

  3. Be dedicated to community outreach.

  4. Serve as a gathering place for creative events and social events.

  5. Support life-long learning and literary education.

  6. Sell books in any form, on any platform.

  7. Maintain a virtual presence, with technology fully integrated into the store.

  8. Provide a carefully curated selection of books.

How To Save an Indie Bookstore: Day 3 – The Style Blog – The Washington Post. Well, okay — but doesn’t this whole list kinda grind to a halt at number 1? Isn’t that precisely why bookstores are closing around the country, because their business is not financially sustainable? Saying “Your business must be financially sustainable” is like showing a comedian a cue card that reads, “Say something witty.”