In Praise of Independent Bookstores

by Charles Coe
It’s a gloomy, chilly day, with a light rain falling. You stop in front of your local bookstore to look at the window display. You spot several interesting books, including a new biography you’ve been meaning to check out. You’re running errands but you’re not in a hurry, so you go inside to poke around.
The place is brightly lit and people are browsing, checking out postcards, and sipping coffee in the café. You hunt down that biography and decide to buy it. And while you’re at it, you look for a copy of a hot-off-the-press mystery for a friend who’s a fan of the author. If it’s not in stock, the cashier helps you order a copy and will have it delivered to your friend.
You could also order it online. When you order online from your independent bookstore, that book can be picked up at the store or shipped anywhere you like. They can even gift-wrap and mail it to your friend across the country. There’s nothing a certain enormous online company can do for the book buyer that they can’t.
Actually, there’s one thing that enormous company can do. Sometimes they’ll sell you that book for a little less. But isn’t supporting our local independent bookstores worth paying a couple of bucks more? With their helpful and knowledgeable employees, live author events, and cheerful atmosphere, our bookstores enhance the quality of life in our communities and help to support and encourage writers and poets.
Let’s support what supports us…