Monday, January 5, 2009

Buy the Book

I learned just yesterday of the impending closure of a local independent bookstore, and my heart broke a little. This independent bookstore has been around a long time, but with the economy as it is, the rent increasing as it does and competition from chain bookstores presenting a formidable opponent, it appears the store has just one too many challenges to surmount. Alas.

While I am first and foremost an advocate for libraries (since, you know, I'm a librarian and all and I don't see why you should buy books that your tax dollars are already providing for you free of charge), I recognize that there are people - millions of them even - who just have to BUY the book. And let's face it, everyone knows that company judges you based on your bookshelf, and you do the same*. Occasionally, you buy books.

I'm a librarian now, but my past includes jobs at two independent bookstores, both of which ultimately succumbed to closure due after a "noble" bookstore chained opened up nearby (and, okay, also a stint at the aforementioned noble bookstore, but who's counting?). I love independent bookstores for their personality, their familiarity with readership, and ability to keep jobs and money in the local economy without lining corporate coffers. Sure, they tend to have a smaller selection on-hand, but most are willing to special order anything you need and get it to you in just a few days, and many offer FREE membership programs that provide valuable coupons and discounts.

So when you buy books, do your best to support your local independent bookstore. They need you, and you need them more than you think. They're a part of your community. You'll find the staff to be almost as knowledgeable as librarians, with a passion for books that's as good as any librarian's.

End of public service announcement.

* I promise not to judge you based on your bookshelf, unless you only have hoity toity books on it. Then I will judge you as shallow, unintelligent and fake, the same things you'd think about me if you saw my bookshelf.

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