There was a time when it looked like the final chapter was being written for small, independent bookstores. Giant chains roared into town and squeezed out Indies like the big supermarkets stomped on mom and pop grocery stores.
But I’m encouraged after a signing in Delaware at Jackie Inman’s busy Bethany Beach Books. This is a bustling yet cozy store where visitors are treated more like neighbors than customers, and where literature is more captivating than cell phones and email.
It’s also great that no corporate giant tells the store what books to promote. Indeed, Bethany Books placed a poster announcing I’d be signing copies of my new novel, Bootlicker, in front of a big display of 50 Shades.
That’s not only good PR, it also points to another key role that Indie book stores play, introducing new writers to prospective readers. I’ve had similar experiences at other stores as well, notably Hard Bean Coffee & Booksellers and Kensington Row Bookshop in Maryland, and Watchung Booksellers in New Jersey.
To learn more, check out the, “Why Indies Matter” campaign, announced in May at Book Expo America. Writers and others are contributing short videos that tell personal storiesrelated to the critical role played by independent bookstores nationwide.
My next stop, meanwhile, is Naples, Fla., where I’ll be meeting members of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. I’m looking forward to this trade show, as I believe we are natural allies, have much in common, and will have lots to discuss.
If you’ve had a memorable experience with an Indie bookstore, please share it here.