This is truly the era of push button shopping. We can peruse the virtual shelves of AMAZON and find recommendations and even peek into books and, with the flick of a finger, have that book in hand in as little as day or two. Or, quicker yet, immediately on a e reader.
But if we only hunt for books from our armchairs, the wonderful bookshops that invite us for signings, create worlds of magic on their shelves, and provide a home for our writing…will disappear.
I want to devote this post to the celebration of the independent bookstore. What a loss to us all if the corner bookstore closes its doors. Think of your own childhood and the great offerings from the local bookstore. Libraries and bookstores are the gateways to magical worlds.
|(from Reuters & International Business Times)|
This is not to say the AMAZON does not play a big role in our modern writerly lives. The ratings, the sales info, the author pages…these are important and give us reach. And I, too, have been an AMAZON book buyer. While living in Egypt, sometimes the only option for getting books is ordering from AMAZON. For us, through the American University in Cairo, we can get books sent through the New York office. I was thrilled to find new bookshops opening in our neighbourhood in Ma’adi, Al Kotob Khan: http://cairobooklore.blogspot.com/2013/11/image-by-mpm-cc-by-al-kotob-khan-book.html and Diwan: http://www.diwanegypt.com/ but if the book I need is not on the shelf at Diwan or Al Kotob Khan (where I had the honour of attending a reading by poet Thomas Healy), I have to press that button at AMAZON since there is no way to be sure it will arrive otherwise. As a family,we try to plan ahead and, for books not immediately needed (or needed within a few weeks since delivery to Egypt is not a rush job) we send a list to The Children’s Bookstore in Baltimore http://www.thecbstore.com/ and they hold those books for us until we come back for summer leave. We bring bags of books back to Cairo with us at the end of every summer.
|Al Kotob Khan (from CAIRO360)|
So what can we do as authors and readers? We can think of that brick-and-mortar bookshop first. Call and see if the book you want is there. I figure, yes, it often is a small percentage more costly, but I think of it as a gratuity to the bookshop folks who are there to talk books with those of us who love them.
If you have books on shelves out there, make sure you’re listed with Indiebound.
It’s easy to register and find your bookshop, for readers and authors, both. And, when you do school tours, find a nearby bookstore (or ask the school) and have them supply the books for sale, either for signing, while you’re there, or to be available before you come. I am supporting my new Young Inventors Guild book (The Ravens of Solemano…) and, at a recent school visit in Westchester, NY, The Voracious Reader http://www.thevoraciousreader.com/ supplied the books, at the school and then at the public library where I spoke in the evening.
Let’s celebrate our local bookshops. What is your favorite place to peruse? Share a name, a memorable event, a ‘thank you’ for hosting a signing, or simply a link!