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# There are far fewer independent bookstores

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Intern
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There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 21 Nov 2019, 11:18
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65% (hard)

Question Stats:

60% (01:58) correct 40% (02:04) wrong based on 388 sessions

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There are far fewer independent bookstores than there were 20 years ago, largely because chain bookstores prospered and multiplied during that time. Thus, chain bookstores' success has been to the detriment of book consumers, for the shortage of independent bookstores has prevented the variety of readily available books from growing as much as it otherwise would have.

Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument relies?

A) book consumers would be better off if there were a greater variety of readily available books than there currently is

B) independent bookstores typically do not sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstores

C) the average bookstore today is larger than the average bookstore of 20 years ago.

D) the average bookstore today is smaller than the average bookstore of 20 years ago.

E) some book consumers value low prices more highly than wide selection

Originally posted by waltiebikkiebal on 12 Oct 2013, 02:46.
Last edited by generis on 21 Nov 2019, 11:18, edited 2 times in total.
Edited and formatted the question
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Re: There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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17 Oct 2013, 05:34
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After narrow down to choice A and B, I marked Choice B, which is wrong. The correct answer is A and I have done deep analysis to understand, why I got my answer wrong. Following is my analysis, which may be useful to others as well.

The meaning of the argument was not well understood by me. Particularly this sentence is very important "Thus, chain bookstores success has been to the detriment of book consumers". It informs that success of chain book stores has resulted in harm or damage to book consumers.

Passage Analysis
Premise : "There are far fewer independent bookstores than there were 20 years ago, largely because chain bookstores prospered and multiplied during that time." - informs the reason why independent book stores has reduced in last 20 years.

Conclusion: Thus, chain bookstores success has been to the detriment of book consumers, for the shortage of independent bookstores has prevented the variety of readily available books from growing as much as it otherwise would have.

The conclusion informs that success of chain book stores has resulted in harm to book consumers and this is because success of chain book stores has led to reduction of independent book stores.

If the independent book stores are not reduced, then book consumers would have variety of readily available books.

Now going to choices:-

Choice B:- out of scope - No where in the argument it is written any thing on kind of books sold by either chain book stores or independent book stores
Choice C:- out of scope - Nothing has been mentioned on sizes of book stores
Choice D:- out of scope - same as Choice C
Choice E:- out of scope - Nothing has been mentioned on low price of books

Choice A:- this is right choice because book consumer would be happy if variety of readily available books is there
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Re: There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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17 Oct 2013, 07:30
IMO A.

Apart from A all the other choices seem out of scope.

a) book consumers would be better off if there were a greater variety of readily available books than there currently is. Correct. The argument says that chain bookstores will act as a 'detriment of book consumers', which implies customers will prefer individual bookstores over chain bookstores.
b) independent bookstores typically do not sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstores. Incorrect. The argument does not mention anything about the kind of books.
c) the average bookstore today is larger than the average bookstore of 20 years ago. Incorrect. Irrelevant information. We are not concerned with the size of the bookstore.
d) the average bookstore today is smaller than the average bookstore of 20 years ago. Incorrect. Same as C
e) some book consumers value low prices more highly than wide selection. Incorrect. The argument does not mention anything about the price of books.
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Re: There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2014, 13:22
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So this is how I attacked the question:

The question tells us that there is a reasoning error in the stimulus, and that it's an assumption that is NECESSARY for the conclusion to be drawn.

The stimulus:
Premise 1: Indie Bookstores have decreased because Chain BS increased
Premise 2: B/c of the shortage (ie. Indie BS decrease), the variety of readily available books has slowed.

Conclusion: "Chain bookstores' success has been to the detriment of book consumers".

So, before going to the answer choices, I thought, what's the assumption they are making? Because without this assumption, the argument would be invalid. We see there is this new variable, "book consumers", and some type of negative impact to them, so the assumption has to revolve around this somehow. So I paraphrased the assumption as: If consumers had better variety of books, they would be better off then they are now...leading to answer choice (A).

Even without that, we can eliminate incorrect answer choices, and come to (A) as a process of elimination.

(B) We don't necessarily know anything about sales of books. BUT, even if we did, it wouldn't be enough to come to the conclusion on how this has impacted consumers. This answer choice doesn't absolutely lead us to the conclusion about how this situation leads to a negative impact on the consumers. So, this can be eliminated. (Remember keep in mind your conclusion.)

(C) & (D) These are out of scope. It has no influence on the argument, and has no influence on the conclusion.

(E) Nothing was mentioned about pricing, so again, this is out of scope. But even if this was true, does it led to our conclusion to negative impact on the consumers? No.
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Re: There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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23 Aug 2014, 02:28
Katnisslogic wrote:
So this is how I attacked the question:

The question tells us that there is a reasoning error in the stimulus, and that it's an assumption that is NECESSARY for the conclusion to be drawn.

The stimulus:
Premise 1: Indie Bookstores have decreased because Chain BS increased
Premise 2: B/c of the shortage (ie. Indie BS decrease), the variety of readily available books has slowed.

Conclusion: "Chain bookstores' success has been to the detriment of book consumers".

So, before going to the answer choices, I thought, what's the assumption they are making? Because without this assumption, the argument would be invalid. We see there is this new variable, "book consumers", and some type of negative impact to them, so the assumption has to revolve around this somehow. So I paraphrased the assumption as: If consumers had better variety of books, they would be better off then they are now...leading to answer choice (A).

Even without that, we can eliminate incorrect answer choices, and come to (A) as a process of elimination.

(B) We don't necessarily know anything about sales of books. BUT, even if we did, it wouldn't be enough to come to the conclusion on how this has impacted consumers. This answer choice doesn't absolutely lead us to the conclusion about how this situation leads to a negative impact on the consumers. So, this can be eliminated. (Remember keep in mind your conclusion.)

(C) & (D) These are out of scope. It has no influence on the argument, and has no influence on the conclusion.

(E) Nothing was mentioned about pricing, so again, this is out of scope. But even if this was true, does it led to our conclusion to negative impact on the consumers? No.

The conclusion of "shortage of independent bookstores has prevented the variety of readily available books from growing as much as it otherwise would have" can be arrived at only when we assume that "independent bookstores typically do not sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstores"
When this assumption is challenged, the conclusion falls apart. what if independent bookstores would have sold the same types of books as those sold by chain bookstores. In such condition there would have been no adverse impact on variety of books available to consumers.
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Re: There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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08 Jun 2018, 08:22
waltiebikkiebal wrote:
There are far fewer independent bookstores than there were 20 years ago, largely because chain bookstores prospered and multiplied during that time. Thus, chain bookstores succes has been to the detriment of book consumers, for the shortage of independent bookstores has prevented the variety of readily available books from growing as much as it otherwise would have.

Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument relies?

a) book consumers would be better off if there were a greater variety of readily availble books than there currently is
b) independent bookstores typically do not sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstors

hi,
with regards to option A, doesnt better off means
"in a more desirable or advantageous position, especially in financial terms"
now we have option B

which says independent bookstores sell the books which are not normally sold by chain bookstores which means people get variety in the reading which is also discussed in the conclusion.

Kindly shed some light on it.
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There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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21 Nov 2019, 11:18
Quote:
There are far fewer independent bookstores than there were 20 years ago, largely because chain bookstores prospered and multiplied during that time. Thus, chain bookstores' success has been to the detriment of book consumers, for the shortage of independent bookstores has prevented the variety of readily available books from growing as much as it otherwise would have.
Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument relies?

A) book consumers would be better off if there were a greater variety of readily available books than there currently is
B) independent bookstores typically do not sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstores

Could someone help me with this question?

This is a LSAT Prep Test Question and the OA is A.
But by using the assumption negation technique for B, doesn't the conclusion break down?

Negating B - If Independent bookstores typically sell the kind of books that are available in the chain bookstores, then ideally there is a lack of variety in the first place, and mere expansion of the chain stores can't be detrimental to the consumers.

Also, is choice A not rephrasing of the stimulus?
The stimulus says that lack of variety is detrimental to the consumers.

Am I reading too much between the lines when I am assuming that the above statement's meaning encompasses the idea that if there was not a lack of variety, the consumers would not be in a bad situation, and thus would be better off.
If the Q already provides this as a premise, we shouldn't have to use this as an assumption.

Best
Suds
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There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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22 Nov 2019, 00:36
SudsMeister wrote:
Quote:
There are far fewer independent bookstores than there were 20 years ago, largely because chain bookstores prospered and multiplied during that time. Thus, chain bookstores' success has been to the detriment of book consumers, for the shortage of independent bookstores has prevented the variety of readily available books from growing as much as it otherwise would have.
Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument relies?

A) book consumers would be better off if there were a greater variety of readily available books than there currently is
B) independent bookstores typically do not sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstores

Could someone help me with this question?

This is a LSAT Prep Test Question and the OA is A.
But by using the assumption negation technique for B, doesn't the conclusion break down?

Negating B - If Independent bookstores typically sell the kind of books that are available in the chain bookstores, then ideally there is a lack of variety in the first place, and mere expansion of the chain stores can't be detrimental to the consumers.

Also, is choice A not rephrasing of the stimulus?
The stimulus says that lack of variety is detrimental to the consumers.

Am I reading too much between the lines when I am assuming that the above statement's meaning encompasses the idea that if there was not a lack of variety, the consumers would not be in a bad situation, and thus would be better off.
If the Q already provides this as a premise, we shouldn't have to use this as an assumption.

Best
Suds

SudsMeister , belated welcome to GMAT Club.
Your two posts seem to contain similar questions. If I miss something from the other post, let me know.

You: But by using the assumption negation technique for B, doesn't the conclusion break down?
You: is choice A not rephrasing of the stimulus? (You mean: Doesn't answer A simply rephrase part of the stimulus?)

The negation technique is not always the best method to use.
I think it's easier to "bridge the gap." (When I took the LSAT and faced more than 50 of these questions, I used negation one time.)

This question is a lot simpler (not easier) than it seems.
LSAC rarely writes questions this obvious, a fact that seems to have confused many people.

• What does the prompt say?

The assumption on which the conclusion relies is that variety is a good thing. That assumption is never stated. The end.

You wrote
Quote:
The stimulus says that lack of variety is detrimental to the consumers.

No.
The stimulus absolutely does not say that lack of variety is detrimental to anything or anyone.
The conclusion says that chain stores' success is detrimental to the consumers.

Not one word in that prompt says that variety is a good thing.

Your mind is filling in the blanks. Very easy mistake.
But I can draw an opposite conclusion from the very same premises. I do so below.

The prompt says that

-- (1) chain stores caused the steep decline in the number of independent bookstores
*caused: there are far fewer . . . largely because
-- (2) the shortage of independent bookstores has caused less variety in books than there would have been otherwise
*caused: the shortage. . . has prevented . . . the variety
-- (3) The conclusion: Thus, chain bookstores' success has been to the detriment of book consumers.

• Reasoning forwards

Let's reason forwards in the chain of causation.

↑↑ chain stores = ↓↓ independent stores = ↓↓ variety of books.

Stop. Less variety is a neutral fact.
-- Nothing says that less variety is bad.
-- Nothing says that less variety is good.

There is simply less variety than there would have been if chain stores had not decreased the number of independent bookstore.

If I were a dictator-in-the-making or a reactionary, I could write this conclusion:
Thus, the success of chain stores has been to the benefit of book consumers.

What am I assuming in this opposite conclusion?
I am assuming that lack of variety in books is good.
Wingnuts have been arguing against variety in literature for millennia.
Plenty of people in the U.S. believe in book censorship.

This writer goes in a different direction.
She concludes,"Thus, chainstores' success has been to the detriment of consumers."

In order to conclude from the mere fact of less variety (caused by chain stores' success) that consumers have been harmed (by chain stores' success),the writer must assume that more variety would have been to the benefit of consumers.

• Option B? Negating B? Watch the "not."
B) independent bookstores typically do not sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstores

The negation: Independent bookstores typically do sell the kind of books that are available in chain bookstores.
Stop.

That negation does not destroy the conclusion.
Independent bookstores could be selling many additional kinds of books that are not sold in chain stores.

→→ [Negated B] Independent bookstores sell the kinds of books that are available in chain bookstores
AND
→→ independent bookstores sell many other kinds of books [that chain bookstores do not sell].

I can say the highlighted words whether we negate B or not.

Quote:
Am I reading too much between the lines when I am assuming that the above statement's meaning encompasses the idea that if there was not a lack of variety, the consumers would not be in a bad situation, and thus would be better off

If you can write a sentence like that one, you can reason forwards. "Bridge the gap" when negation fails.
Why are you reading between the lines at all?
Maybe I don't understand what you mean.

When I tutor for the LSAT, sometimes I want to march around with a sign that says: use the words you are given and nothing else.

Why do you assume that the meaning encompasses answer A?
You haven't argued your case. You've asserted it.
I will be happy to listen to your arguments.

If you are not convinced by my analysis, spell out your arguments and support them with words from the prompt.

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Re: There are far fewer independent bookstores  [#permalink]

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22 Nov 2019, 03:58
Hi generis,
Thank you for the detailed response. The two posts are almost similar and I reposted by mistake, sorry for that.

The first part - Bridging the gap point made complete sense and does help.
I was of the opinion that negation is a foolproof technique in assumption questions and thence should always hold.

Quote:
→→ [Negated B] Independent bookstores sell the kinds of books that are available in chain bookstores
AND
→→ independent bookstores sell many other kinds of books [that chain bookstores do not sell].

This makes sense too; so the negation of B doesn't necessarily imply lesser variety, and doesn't categorically weaken the conclusion.

Now coming to the reasoning forwards bit:
I have a few questions and I will try my best to argue rather than to assert, please bear with me.

Quote:
↑↑ chain stores = ↓↓ independent stores = ↓↓ variety of books.

From this causation link one can say:
↑↑ chain stores = ↓↓ variety of books →→ (A)

Now the conclusion is:
↑↑ chain stores = ↑↑ detriment of consumers →→ (B)

From (A) and (B) we get:
↓↓ variety of books = ↑↑ detriment of consumers →→ (C)

And thus I felt that the stimulus says, lack of variety is bad for the consumers.

My 1st question is:
From (C), can I say that:
↑↑ variety of books = ↓↓ detriment of consumers = ↑↑ benefit to consumers →→ (X)?

Option A says that:
↑↑ variety of books = ↑↑ benefit to consumers →→ (D)

If the answer to the first question is yes, then is not (X) = (D) and thus the option is already given in the stimulus and cannot be an assumption?

My 2nd question is:
If (D) is given to me in an option, can I say that:
↓↓ variety of books = ↓↓ benefit to consumers = ↑↑ detriment to consumers →→ (Y)?

If the answer to the second question is yes, then is not (Y) = (C) and thus the option is already given in the stimulus and cannot be an assumption?

Question 3 - Can I use (A) and (B) to get (C)? OR is it wrong because that is exactly where the assumption needs to come?

Question 4 [Regardless of the answer to Q3] - When I transform (C) into (X) and (D) into (Y), am I reading too much between the lines or is it allowed?
Re: There are far fewer independent bookstores   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2019, 03:58
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