The best-known Princeton alum in the book business surely must be Jeff Bezos ’86, founder of the online books-turned-everything retailer But he is far from the only graduate selling books. Some, like James Goldwasser *99, president of Locus Solus Rare Books in New York City, deal in rare books and manuscripts. Kate Randall ’84 is co-owner of Antigone Books in Tucson, which describes itself on Facebook as “a zany bookstore with a feminist slant.”

Erin Matthews ’06 purchased her 120,000-volume, Glenwood, Md., shop, Books With a Past, two years ago. She has adapted to the changing industry with multiple strategies: an online store; listings on Amazon and Alibris (an online portal for independent new and used booksellers); a blog, plus Facebook and Twitter accounts; author appearances; book clubs and writers’ workshops; and even tutoring and editing services — anything that might make an independent bookstore viable in a world of virtual books and bookselling. Online sales, which she estimates at 30 percent of her business, are the difference between breaking even and losing money, she says. The shop is a “third place, in addition to home and work, that builds a community,” she says, and her addition of online marketing has helped “bring the store into the 21st century.”