Support Your Local Independent Bookstore

by Darlyn Finch Kuhn on January 24, 2018

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I’ll admit it. I swooned over the movie You’ve Got Mail, and heck yes, I was rooting for Meg Ryan’s character all the way.

Who doesn’t root for the underdog? Who doesn’t pull for the cozy bookstore against the big ol’ chain? Who doesn’t order the latest book they’ve been wanting to read from their local independent bookstore, maybe paying a smidge more because they don’t get volume discounts like the big chains, and having to drive a few miles to pick it up, rather than ordering it from A-word.com or downloading it to their K-word?

Cue the crickets.

Wait a minute. We’re writers, dammit! We’re the ones constantly ducking into the local independent bookstores to make sure they’ve got our latest release front and center (preferably cover out), or at least making sure they’ve got our writer pals’ favorite books on the Local Writers shelf, or failing that, that they’ve at least got a Local Writers shelf.

We’re the ones who think local bookstore owners should cry with joy when we suggest they stay open late or come in on their days off because we’ve had a brilliant idea for a workshop, or just know people will bust the doors down to hear us read our poems, etc., etc., etc.  We’re the ones who would be super insulted if they looked us square in the eye after an offer like that and asked quietly, “What’s in it for me?”

Cue more crickets.

So here’s a thought: Adopt the closest local bookstore to your home. Or adopt the local bookstore where the staff is always helpful. Heck, adopt more than one local bookstore, if you’re lucky enough to live in a town where more than one has survived. And when I say adopt them I mean this: buy all your books from them. Go to as many of their events as you can. Tell your friends about them, and drag your friends there every chance you get. Find out who the owners are and thank them for staying put. Ask how you can help them out.

I once helped move an entire local bookstore in Mt. Dora, Florida from one location to another a few blocks away by packing books in second-hand plastic grocery-store bags and loading them in the back of a pickup truck. At the end of the day we had an empty old bookstore, a “book mountain” in the middle of the new bookstore, and a brand-new group of book-loving friends.

Maybe, just maybe, we can save the bookstores we love, and help them thrive. One writer, one reader, one book at a time.

 

P.S. Jacksonville, we’ve got San Marco Books and More, Chamblin’s Uptown, and Bookmark at Neptune Beach.  Orlando/Winter Park, check out The Writers Block.

 

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