Friday, February 18, 2011

More Ways to Support Your Bookstore

This is a blog post from The Book Lady's Blog. So this post is excerpts stolen from her because it is fantastic and I just love her.

More Ways to Support Your Bookstore
Originally Posted by Rebecca Joines Schinsky at
The Booklady's Blog

Yesterday’s post about Borders’ bankruptcy and the reminder it brought that where we buy our books matters triggered wonderful discussions here and on Twitter (and in my poor email inbox, which is still quivering in the corner) about what we as readers—as consumers—can do to support bookstores and help them thrive. The first and most obvious action is the one I mentioned yesterday: do your book buying in actual bookstores. Or, as my pal Ron Hogan said so succinctly, leave the house!

But getting your butt off the couch and into the bookstore isn’t the only thing you can do.

Attend events. A bookstore’s ability to secure authors for readings and signings often hinges on its ability to demonstrate that it can attract an audience and that the audience will—wait for it—buy books! If you are fortunate enough to live near a store that currently offers author events, go check a few of them out. Take a friend. If, after hearing the author speak, it turns out that you’re not all that interested in his or her book, pick out something else to purchase instead. Try not to view author events as free entertainment; the store may not be charging admission, but they have to see profit from events in order to continue making them available to the community.

Ask your local organizations to support local bookstores. If your church, community center, book club, writer’s circle, knitting group, Junior League, or Underwater Basket Weavers’ Association is holding an event related to a book or has invited an author to speak, and you want to have books sold during the event, reach out to an independent bookstore first (if there is one reasonably close by). You may not get quite the discount or donation a big box store can offer, but you’ll be putting dollars back into your local economy and supporting individuals and a business that make your community a richer, more vibrant place to live.

Remove the phrase “No thanks, I’ll just order it when I get home” from your vocabulary. Most booksellers are too polite to say so to your face, but this is beyond rude. Bookstores are STORES and they exist to SELL you books, not to provide you with personalized recommendations and a place to browse before you go home and shop in your underwear. When booksellers look up titles, recommend books, and offer to place orders for you, they are providing a service, and it is not a service they intend to provide for free. You pay for this service by purchasing items from their stores. If you absolutely must browse in-store but buy online, have the decency not to tell the bookseller that’s what you’re doing. It’s awful for morale, and it makes you look like an ass. And for god’s sake, don’t stand in front of a bookseller, show her your phone, and say, “No worries, I just ordered it from Amazon.”

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