In a letter to members prior to the opening of next week's Winter Institute in Albuquerque, N.M., ABA CEO Oren Teicher wrote that "sales for indie stores increased nearly five percent over 2017."

ABA members using the IndieCommerce online platform did even better, Teicher said, showing a 10% increase over 2017. In sum, he wrote, the compound growth sales growth at independent bookstores over the past five year amounts to 7.5%.

Part of the sales gains was due to higher membership. According to Teicher, the ABA added 95 new members in 2018, including a mystery bookstore, a diverse children’s bookstore, a community-run book cooperative, and 14 branches of existing businesses. The new members were spread across 35 states, the District of Columbia, and included one on the island of Bermuda. Furthermore, 28 established ABA member stores were bought by new owners; in 2017, 22 stores were sold to new owners.