The reports of the bookstore’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
If you ask me, bookstores aren’t dead. They’re not even dying. And it’s not about print books (which are, by the way, also not dying — they’re not just as prominent as they once were): it’s about bookstores offering something that no online shopping experience ever can. It’s about bookstores bringing to the table an experience — which can be anything, really, but possibly involves coffee, tall shelves, pretty covers, author events, signed copies of books, rare releases, and maybe one or two homeless dudes who wandered in from outside. (Hey, Amazon will never offer us the “random homeless guy” experience. Though, now as I say that, Jeff Bezos is descending into the darkness of his laboratory to concoct some kind of digital hobo initiative — “Old Ciggy Jim has a Hobo Ranking of #4588! Beat that, Bindle Dan!”)
Let’s be clear: not every independent bookstore is worth saving by dint of it being an independent bookstore. Some bring nothing to the table that you can’t already get elsewhere (the answer to what an indie bookstore offers can never be “just books,” because that is a realm in which they cannot compete). But many others are wonderful, weird places — great staff, fine events, eclectic selections, nice design, the finest homeless around. So, with that being said, here’s what I want from you:
I’d like you to sing the praises of an indie bookstore you love.
Maybe it’s local to you. Or at least within driving distance.
Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s one you found in another city and you want to praise it with mighty hymns.
Tell me about your favorite indie bookstore.
Part of this is because: hey, I wanna celebrate those bookstores.
Another part is entirely selfish. Because you can bet I’m taking notes as to places I may one day stop to sign books, give readings, shake hands, kiss babies, and eradicate the growing Hobo Menace.
Give ’em some love.