Thursday, December 18, 2008

Local Booksellers Need You!

Recently the Authors Guild sent out an email which encouraged members to spread the word to support local booksellers.

We are fortunate where I live because we do not have any large book retailers in close proximity.

The closest B&N is about a forty-five minute drive down the winding mountain roads.

Even so, the grocery stores have taken over many of the magazine and mass market sales but we all still tend to support the local bookstores because they are important to our minds and our communities.

But is it enough?

One of our locals stores closed its doors not too long ago...but I believe it was due to poor business practices more than anything else.

Just last year, I sent out an announcement for my latest book to booksellers around the nation and was sad to see about 50 of my postcards returned marked "closed" or "empty building."

I happen to prefer the cozy, intimate nature of independent bookstores such as Cabin Fever in Sky Forest, California or Mcabe Books in Crestline, California.

Sometimes being pals with the booksellers can get in the way of shopping--but we all love it.

This year we lost the eclectic Eastside Book Cafe but Edelweiss Books is still going strong after something like 30 years and the Big Bear Book & Bean had to downsize but we are hopeful that they will survive.

Anyway, below is the email plea from the Authors Guild--and I'd like to invite you to take action and join in the efforts to support ANY local independent bookseller.

Drop by an independent bookseller on a day trip, order from a local bookstore by phone, or get gift certificates as stocking stuffers this season.

Find excuses throughout the year to support small businesses of all types but especially those who sell the books that stimulate minds and help maintain diversity and that pick unique titles instead of those few picked out of hundreds of titles to be marketed heavily.

From Roy Blount:

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating.

Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge.

Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters.

Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now.

Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves.

Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth.

Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books.

Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom:

"Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild

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