In the spirit of full disclosure, only moments before I wrote my response to Farhad Manjoo’s article Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller on Slate, I purchased a novel via Amazon.com. It is a Christmas present for one of my siblings. I am very excited for her to read it and let me know what she thinks. I’ve heard excellent things about this book from
actual friends of mine whom I trust and I think she’d enjoy it.
Now, if you read my previous post, I laud independent and locally owned bookstores over the souless website … that I had just patronized. What I would like to do right now is tell the Internets why I chose to purchase my sister’s Christmas present from the Souless Website rather than a warm, community inspiring establishment: because we don’t have any fucking bookstores in this town.
We used to have a Borders and we have one secondhand bookshop (which is entirely hit or miss and I wanted this specific volume). But with Borders going under and the selection at the grocery markets and drug stores (and Target) being more abysmal than ever, my only option was a Souless Website. There are, according to IndieBound, three independently owned bookstores within ten miles of my hometown. As someone who does not drive this information is still not helpful. It is amazing that in a city of 38,000 people we have one second hand bookseller that sells chiefly romance and crime novels. But neighboring towns of 18,000 and 6,000 have independent bookstores. Is it really possible that parents in this town are content to purchase books for their children via the Internets or after a laborious twenty five (more like thirty/thirty five) minute drive, one way, down one of the most irritating roads in the area. If we had a local bookseller we could have reading groups, story hour, giveaways, events, a place where people could go and talk to actual people about books they read, about the books their families are reading (there are a LOT of families in my town) and their children and similar books to get them to promote reading. But we don’t. And we wonder why kids don’t read.
Reading starts in the home, they say. If it’s important to the parents it will be important to the kids (like the outdoors or common courtesy). At some point I hope someone is able to open up a new bookstore in town so residents don’t have to battle highways and ridiculously heavily traveled at all hours of the day numbered roads solely so they can buy a book for their kids, spouses, friends or selves. Hopefully, someone sets this up and helps create a sense of community in a town that has very rarely shown me they’re capable of such feats. Hopefully, the good people of this town are one day given another option.
You see, I don’t hate Amazon, I don’t. I just prefer an actual store where I can talk to other people who love books.