here is what i know: i wandered into one of my favorite local indie bookstores today and was pretty much in distress when i saw that they have recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. i mean what is a girl to do (especially of the book-loving variety) if all the bookstores go the way of the furby (remember that creepy toy?) i mean, it is one thing if a hamster/owl robot hybrid gets the um, old heave-ho, but walk-in, non-chain bookstores? you know, where people actually have book knowledge (and by book knowledge i don't mean stare at me blankly and wander/sneak away). and they actually root for the sustained literacy of say, america.
listen: i know technology is fancy and convenient and that booksellers like amazon are the bomb.com, BUT, isn't there something kind of amazing about walking into a store (yes, lift your head up from texting while you walk in and you will be amazed at what you see!) where you can pick up a book, hold it in your hand (papercuts are rare) and say, share it with your child, or leaf through it, or you know, support the local economy?
i wandered over to the poetry section (championship! no blank stare when i said "poetry"), totally used to seeing an area that perhaps used to house, let's say, enough room for perhaps, i don't know, thumbelina? and i almost passed out. (disclaimer: i am about to get very book-nerd here). they had local authors. obscure authors. chapbooks. indie lit. mainstream (very little) lit. it.was.amazing. and i thought, whoa, and this place (which also carries rare books, and antiquarian books), is in trouble? kind of blows my mind a little bit (hence the soap box).
i know that indie bookstores can be a bit more expensive, but isn't the saying always, "you get what you pay for"? for me, the value is in the selection, the promotion of writers (like me and so many of my friends) and the quality of the overall experience. so, all this to say, please support your local libraries (remember those? check this out: www.geekthelibrary.org/) and booksellers. maybe not every time you buy a book if you can't stomach that idea, but often. library + indie bookseller combo =less than what you'd spend at a chain, or online.
here are a few of my other favorite booksellers. check them out if you are in my area, or they are in yours.
collected works, santa fe
the bookshelf, thomasville
grolier poetry bookshop, cambridge
harvard book store, cambridge
st. mark's bookshop, lower east side, nyc
where are your favorite book shops?