I am ALL about shopping locally and buying from your Independent bookseller. We've heard a lot about booksellers going under over the past couple of years. People have been making more of a concerted effort to support the bookstores that are left. We absolutely do NOT want to be a society without Independent bookstores. The promotion and communication of the reading public cannot be exclusively big box stores because there are LOTS of reasons why a big box store might promote a book or group of books that has nothing to do with the actual quality of the book. For example, you may or may not know that anyone can now download their book on Amazon for your reading pleasure. There are many good things about this feature, I suppose, for sharing purposes. Some of these books have developed strong readerships. But here's my concern about it, a person with a new kindle who goes online to download books may not easily discern between the books that have been through an editorial process and those that have not. For example, my cousin might download a book for 9.99 that looks interesting then find it to be full of typos, without plot points, and even incomplete (in one example). I searched teen books once and it led me to some self-published teen porn (in the defense of Amazon, it wasn't there the next time I looked, so they must have removed it). For the same $9.99 of hard-earned money, you could have purchased a quality piece of literature backed by a reputable publisher. Not that there aren't some good self-published pieces out there, there are, but it may be hard to distinguish the difference. And there are TONS Of good websites that review books, recommend new releases, give reviews and other things that promote books--people who aren't affiliated with a place that sells book. So educate yourself and others on how to find great books. So anyway, that's the Amazon issue for me.
But aside from that, I have no problem with the book-selling service Amazon provides. Sometimes the assumption is that we're all walking past our Indies and downloading from Amazon, but many of us don't have Indies anywhere near us. Perhaps, Amazon is the ONLY way for us to get books (aside from B&N, etc.) in a timely fashion. I love the Indies and support them every chance I get, but don't make us all into monsters if we receive a book on our porch every now and then.
Someone made a good analogy to me today. She compared books from Independent booksellers to organic food. Of COURSE, we'd all like to eat fresh, healthy organic food, but we may not always be able to afford it. When you take a kid with his allowance to Wal-Mart (yes, horrors) to purchase a book, it may be the difference in him getting a book or not. Perhaps this book will be the first step for a lifelong Indie supporter. It has to start with books. If we want a future full of readers, we need to acknowledge the value that readers are finding books in lots of places. Replace the negative big box press with better promotion of quality books, so that people KNOW how to discern the difference before they make their selection. Because nothing is more tragic than a young person reading a BAD book that turns him off when there are so many good books to be enjoyed.
So I challenge you: the next time you see a 'big-box bashing' online, comment with a book recommendation or an independent bookstore endorsement. Let's start a reading revolution. Let's send the love to all readers, no matter where they shop, and those of us with favorite Indies, enjoy, be grateful and promote them, as well. Creatively and in unexpected places, so the good news about books may be known to all.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.