by Steve Laube
With this being Thanksgiving week I thought it appropriate to urge you to take a moment,visit your local bookseller, and say, “Thank you for supporting books!”
As I wrote elsewhere, it is tough to be in the retail side of the business. Online sales, rising rent and utilities, rising salaries, etc. are competition enough. I know many booksellers who are in the business for the love of the business not that they think they will become millionaires. They still enjoy the thrill of matching a customer’s need with just the right product. I still remember being honored when a customer came back and thanked me for recommending a particular book to them. One man even decided to go to seminary and enter the pastorate after reading a recommended title.
So before you join the chorus of pundits who seem to be gleefully announcing the demise of the bookseller, let us not forget they are real people with real jobs doing a real service to your community.
And despite the rise of e-books, the physical book is still at least 70% of all book sales. And a lot of those sales happen in a brick and mortar location.
We all have a part in a grand business. The business of changing the world word by word. Authors, agents, editors, marketers, public relations, sales, production, executives, designers, warehousing, accountants, shippers, printers, booksellers, AND readers. Quite a team we make. I, for one, am thankful for them all.
We have an amazing local bookstore, Fiction Addiction. The owner has monthly events which she calls, “Book Your Lunch.” These are luncheons held at a local restaurant and showcase an author. The author has a chance to speak, interact with readers and of course, sell books. Jill Hendrix has made reading an event. We are truly blessed to have this dedicated businesswoman in our community!
What a great name for a bookstore! Fiction Addiction.
I’m not aware of any independently owned bookstores in my city. I think I’d better look harder. We have the chains (Mardel, Barnes and Noble). I shop there, but I hadn’t thought to say, Thank you. I think it’s time I do that. Thanks for the nudge, Steve.
It doesn’t have to be an Independent bookstore. I mean any bookstore that serves the reading public. I think chains can be effective too. And they provide jobs and a service to the community in many ways.
We have a local general market bookstore building a new location in Central Phoenix. (Amazing, right?) They just announced an Indiegogo fund raising campaign to help get it built. Brilliant. A way to crowdsource a part of the expense and to get a measure of the audience they will be serving. Here is the link to their site. Very creative:
Great post, Steve! We are so blessed to have an independently- owned bookstore in our town that welcomes local authors. Whenever there is a book signing, the owner goes out of her way to make the event special and even places an ad in the local paper and on the local radio station. She also makes sure to have treats for patrons the day of the signing. Her thoughtfulness is so appreciated.
Janet Ann Collins
I just called and thanked the person who answered the phone at the local bookstore. She was thrilled and will pass my comments on to the rest of the staff.
Down the road is a quaint and always busy bookstore that only stocks donated books. While its not a “traditional” book store, it’s an absolute gem! The books are sold for crazy cheap prices. I take my kids monthly and they get a couple of picture or chapter book for 25 or 50 cents for themselves or for a gift. Classic and best-selling authors range from 50 cents to $4.00. Not kidding! It’s a beautiful way to get the written word into eager and appreciative hands.
The store is well stocked with some pretty current titles. All the workers are volunteers expect the manager, who gets paid minimum wage. They sort through boxes of donated books, price accordingly and stock where appropriate. I happen to know the manager. She and her workers got a high five. They smiled and gushed about how much like enjoy the book business 🙂
P.S. Edie, I like the name Fiction Addiction too.