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Don't Cry for Me, Amazon

Your article "Selling books like bacon" describes independent bookstores as "driven nearly to extinction" (Marketing, June 16). IPSOS BookTrends reports that independent bookstores have maintained a 15% market share for the past four years, a higher share than mass merchandisers or the Internet.

BusinessWeek mentions The Lovely Bones, a surprise blockbuster and one of many books that independent booksellers were first to recommend and promote. The surviving independent bookstores have strong community ties and loyal customers. A 15% market share is very significant in a very diverse retail environment.

Michael F. Hoynes

Marketing Officer

American Booksellers Assn.

Tarrytown, N.Y. In "Private equity, public anger" (Finance, June 16), Mara Der Hovanesian asserts that investors in private-equity funds are "banging on the door to get out as hard as they once did to get in." On the contrary, most limited partners in private-equity, and specifically venture-capital funds, have the sophistication and financial savvy to realize that the asset class has a long-term horizon and outperforms the market over time.

Unrealized returns, whether they are positive or negative, are not meaningful. One cannot measure the performance of a venture fund until the final liquidity event occurs, which typically takes 7 to 10 years.

Mark Heesen


National Venture Capital Assn.

Arlington, Va.

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