When I was a kid, every town had a bookstore. An independent bookstore. Some towns had several. They were as ubiquitous as local drugstores with soda fountains and as important as any other element to the life of a community. It’s not like that now. Our local, independently owned bookstores are an endangered species. They’re the victims of big chains and of Amazon, yes. But they’re also endangered because of our own lethargy and our insensitivity to both the necessity and the importance of these very valuable resources.
Borders has gone the way of the dodo bird. If what we hear is true, Barnes and Noble is on the ropes. And when that chain is gone, know who’s left? Amazon. The big faceless corporation for whom books are simply another commodity and each of us is simply a revenue source.
Buying from independents is in our own best interest. It assures that no one large entity will control what’s available to us as readers. Freedom—and it does come down to this—is all about choice.
Most of the signings I do are at independents. I’ll be signing on Friday at a wonderful small bookstore in Hudson, Wisconsin, called Chapter2Books. Like most independents, they walk a fine line between red ink and black. If you live in the area, I would consider it a personal favor if you came and experienced this lovely shop and began to do your book buying there. Here’s a link to a great blog about these folks and their plight.
Thanks for listening. And remember: Think globally. Shop locally.