The story of P.K. Sindwani and his suburban Philadelphia bookstore is a saga of the beleaguered bookselling industry: good intentions, crazy times, and anyone’s guess as to how things will turn out.

For nearly two decades, Sindwani had done well at his shop near Ursinus College. But in 2010, with an anchor supermarket dying next door and the industry transforming at an exasperating pace, things got so tough that the onetime accountant and lifelong book lover was planning an exit strategy.

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