Friday, May 2, 2008

Independent book stores

I just got off a blog where the person mentions that she is buying a recommended book from Amazon and at the bottom of the blog it states that she will be reading at Politics and Prose on such and such a date. I am always amazed that writers do not, when possible, totally support their independent book stores as the independents support them. Without the publicity of people like Nancy Olson and her wonderful book store, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, many writers would have no platform for promoting their books. Nancy is an outspoken voice for the local businesses in Raleigh, and her newsletter often has facts about the advantages of "buying locally."

We know the state of the publishing industry, how difficult it is to break down the doors when money is what motiviates the business, not the desire to publish quality work. We have to support small publishers, independent bookstores, and our local authors by attending events where people get to know how magnificant their books are.

I know from being with Nancy how tough it is for her to compete. She could have an author or two whose books are popular but not worth the paper they are written on. But she seems determined to continue to widen our literary horizons by bringing the best of the book world to her doorstep. And right behind them come the local writers who have made our neighborhood one of the best in the world for quality (and I don't use this term lightly) authors.

Sure, I order from Amazon. If it's out of print, or a used copy would do as well as a new one. But I'm not a writer whose livelihood may very well depend on appearing every now and then in a book store that hand delivers my work to its customers and puts out the chairs when I want to have a respectable audience.

Maybe the writer whose blog I read will look around Politics and Prose while she's there and realize that browsing for a decent book in a book store that cares about what it sells beats clicking on icons any day, and that her future is inextricably tied to that of the owners of the independents. And how important it is to stress this to her readers in every word she writes.

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