Posts Tagged ‘bookstores’

This is a cross blog post – I’ve never tried one before.  It’s technically not about Bethany, but does mention small towns, so I thought it might fit.

I was in Cobourg yesterday, the small town I was born in.  In my attempt to promote my novel, Baby! Baby? Baby!?, I contacted independent bookstores to see if they would be willing to stock my book with a consignment arrangement.  I couldn’t believe when I only found 4 independent bookstores suitable for my book.

Four bookstores. In the GTA.  The Avid Reader in Cobourg.  Furby House in Port Hope.  The Blue Heron in Uxbridge.  TYPE in Toronto.  That’s it.

While there isn’t a bookstore in Bethany (not that I know of – if I’m wrong, please correct me and I will visit immediately!) they do have a great library!

I love bookstores.  I have always loved Indigo/Chapters because of the selection, but more and more when I go in, I’m greeted with rows and stacks of stuff.  Non-book stuff.  Where are the books?  They have cards and gifts and dishes and baby toys and kids’ toys…there are stores for that other stuff!  Doesn’t Heather Reisman realize people go into bookstores for books?!?!?

You don’t get the other stuff in small bookstore.  You get books.  Good books.  More importantly, the stores are staffed with people who love books.  Granted, I’m sure you can’t get a job at Indigo without a love of books, nor should you want to, but walk into a small bookstore and you get interesting conversation, great reviews and suggestions.

There’s a kids’ bookstore in Toronto called Mable’s Fables that I love, because anytime I go in there, they can always point me in the direction of a book that is perfect for the kid I buy it for, either mine or someone else’s.  Normally, I don’t give books as gifts.  But when I do, it’s because I’ve put the most effort and thought into selecting the book.  For me, it’s one of the more meaningful gifts I can give a person.  These aren’t books off the Top Ten list either – I put time and effort into choosing them.  And help for this isn’t something you get at Indigo.  Going into a small bookstore, I’m confident of finding the perfect book, usually with the help of the staff, because they have the time and the love of books to make the extra effort, just like I am.  I always thought if I was to go back to work, I’d try a bookstore.  A small one.

But when I was in Cobourg, dropping off a copy of my novel so they could have a looksee, I got into a conversation with the woman who worked there.  I was more than dismayed to hear her predicting the death of the bookstore.

I could see her point about the small, independent bookstores.  In fact, I can see it.  If you want to buy a book, you go to Indigo – it’s cheaper, better selection (despite the other stuff), more convenient.  Or you buy it on line.

And I think that’s the problem.

I like on-line shopping as much as the next person.  Well, maybe not as much as some.  And I’ve bought my share of books on line.  Mostly books, not ebooks.  Maybe I’m a little late in joining the party, but I haven’t embraced holding a tablet to read a book.  I like book books.  I like the feel, the smell…everything about them.

Ebooks are impersonal.  There’s no physical connection.  And yes, I have a physical connection with all my favourite books.  I like to see them on the shelf, not the virtual shelf in my iPad.

And there’s my conundrum.  I’m a writer, an author.  I sell books – ebooks!  How can I sell ebooks if I’m against them?  Ugh!

But this post isn’t about my dilemma, but about me bemoaning how independent bookstores are a dying breed and in a few years might well be extinct.  If you’re a booklover like me, how do we help?  I’m not sure boycotting Amazon and Chapters.ca will help, but tracking down independent bookstores in your area might.  Visit them, and often.  Support your local businesses, but especially bookstores.

And keep reading.

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