In case you weren’t aware, we’re in the middle of Independent Booksellers Week – a worthy celebration for writers, readers and booksellers alike.
Contrary to belief, independent booksellers are not a dying breed (read this post from Bob at The Gutterbookshop if you don’t believe me). But the fact remains that they could become extinct, if not supported.
The beauty of independent bookshops is that they are not monopolised by trends or marketing departments or limited to the bestsellers list. The buyers (who usually turn out to also be the owner, barista, baker, counter assistant & accountant) are free to stock the books that reflect the varied tastes of their customers.
That means knowing their customers well and catering to their needs. In other words, delivering a very personal service. Like the Independent Booksellers Week motto says: real people, real books, real conversation.
For me, the most wonderful thing about independent bookshops is that the bookshop is also someone’s dream. Independent bookshop owners adore what they do because it is their passion, their calling.
As writers, this is something we can easily relate to. And don’t forget, we also need homes for our books – especially much-loved bookshelves created from someone else’s dreams.
So when was the last time you bought a book from your local independent bookstore?
Yes, ordering a basket full of books from Amazon and get them delivered to your door is convenient – but where’s the personal touch? The lively debate about which titles to select? The surprise of an unexpected recommendation?
And of course, a big chain bookstore has much to offer. I’m not suggesting a boycott, I’m just reminding you that independent bookstores also have plenty to offer and need your support too.
My most recent purchases were John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and TransAtlantic by Colum McGann.
What will you buy from your independent bookseller today?