Serving our Literary Communities out of Nashville * New York * Chicago * Denver
Julie Schoerke - Literary Publicist
Why It’s Important to Support your Local Indie Bookstore
Within two years, scary insect-looking things are going to be delivering your books to your house via Amazon drones. Amazon sells books as loss leader—the company actually loses money on selling books—in order to capture the entire book business. Jeff Bezos is looking to have publishing and distribution streamlined through his company, which in a way could become a type of censorship if there isn’t competition.
What will it be like to have these weird drones flying around in our personal space? What will it be like to only have books published that are curated by one source?
The “real” price of a book is what you pay at a bookstore. The booksellers aren’t marking the prices up; they’re charging what it costs, truly, to provide their customers with a book that someone can walk into a store and touch, feel, and smell—allowing authors and publishers to make a decent living with creative freedom.
The height of rudeness? Going into a bookstore, browsing, and then telling the sales clerk at the counter that you’re going home to order their book on Amazon.
It’s worth a few extra bucks to buy a book at fair market value to ensure that you’ll still have the literary heart-beat of your local community to walk into whenever you like. Bookstores bring in interesting authors and programming, and the people in them actually read; you can get great recommendations for books that you’ll love as the staff gets to know your taste. Algorithms scientifically designed to pop up on Amazon and recommend books that you may like are about as accurate as those used by an online dating site to help you find your perfect “match,” that special someone with a wife beater t-shirt on and grammatical errors in his profile.
Independent bookstores: Use ‘em or lose ‘em.
What are some of the best bookstores in the country? How lucky we are that many of them are in the American South! Why? Because more people buy and read books in our part of the country than in any other, which breeds delightful, truly wonderful, and wondrous bookstores.
For an up-to-date list of bookstores in our region by state, visit the following site:
Looking for a new twist on tourism? How about taking a bookstore vacation? I’ve known people who do this. Plan a driving trip with stops at each independent bookstore that catches your fancy on this list, and you’ll learn a lot more about the communities in which you’re visiting than doing just about any other type of tourism activity. The history of the city, the graciousness of the local folks, and the quirkiness that makes a town’s personality can all be found in a bookstore.
I visit bookstores everywhere I go. Some of my favorite include:- East Side Story in East Nashville. Owner Chuck Beard is a book lover who supports local authors, an underserved market in Nashville.
- Fairytale Books in East Nashville. How can a bookstore that has ice cream for breakfast events not make the list?!
- Litchfield Books in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, features amazing lunches with authors.
- Square Books, Publishers Weekly’s 2013 bookstore of the year in Oxford, Mississippi, is home to Thacker Mountain Radio every Thursday night during the Ole Miss school year.
Nobody knows books better or more fiercely fights for bookstores to survive and debut authors to be discovered than Kelly Justice at Fountain Bookstore. If she’s featuring a debut novelist, she offers a bonus to those who come out for the event—the chance of picking out an advance reader copy of another book for free that the publisher has sent her. Bookin’ It in North Carolina gets my vote as one of the most creative bookstores with incredibly nice owners – a bookstore on wheels that comes to you. And there are dozens more that I could name!
Emerging authors and readers need bookstores. Help keep ‘em in business.
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