Monday, April 8, 2019

Indie Bookstores

I love to be around books. I have always loved the library and I have always loved a good bookstore. I definitely make my way over to the book aisle any time I make it to Target. I love books.

Bookstores all over the country are closing at alarming rates. First, it was a lot like You’ve Got Mail. I remember people picketing the building site for Barnes & Noble in my hometown because locals knew B&N would eventually spell THE END for The Book Nest, McGaw’s Newsstand, and The Lion and the Lamb. And you know what? They were right. Now it’s all about showrooming. Even the most devoted readers are guilty of this, myself included.

We walk around a bookstore, probably with an iced chai or a caramel macchiato in hand, and we browse. We admire covers, read synopses, remember hearing about this book on NPR or reading about that one on a blog we like. We get excited about it. We want to read it. We put the book back and we go home empty-handed. A week or two later, we have read it. We saw it in the store and promptly went home to buy it on Amazon (paper or digital, either way) or request it from our library. We treat the bookstore like a showroom instead of a store.

I simply can’t afford to keep myself in books. Y’all know how fast I read. You can’t imagine how many books I borrow from the library in the name of research. It’s a lot. A LOT.

But if we want to enjoy bookstores, we have to support them. We can’t expect them to stick around if we’re just treating them as showrooms. From now on I’d like to make an effort to support local, independently-owned bookstores any time we travel. My own town doesn’t have a bookstore (anymore, I’m sure… I imagine it once did) but I can still enjoy a bookstore in any town I visit… and thank them for existing by buying a book!

After all, I have loved so many! So many of my high school and college Saturdays were spent at Bookman’s. I spent thousands of my hard-earned dollars in that store. My copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting came from Boulder Books in Boulder, Colorado and I loved buying that souvenir copy of Goodnight, Oregon from Powel’s Books in Portland, Oregon. When I first knew there was a little one growing inside me, I celebrated by buying him or her a copy of Charlotte’s Web from Windy City Books in Casper, Wyoming.

They’re all a little different and they’re all a little wonderful. I can’t think of a happier way to spend my vacations than finding, enjoying, and supporting independent bookstores in every town I visit.

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