Support Your Local Bookstores!!!!
Until recently, I had been working at my local Barnes and Noble. We just discovered that our store will be closing at the end of the year, along with another location that's less than 10 miles away. That's two Barnes and Noble stores going out of business and leaving 40 employees without jobs. That leaves us with one independent bookstore and a scattering of used bookstores left to purchase books at in the area. While I've already found another job at a Books Inc. in my area, bookstores in general are becoming scarce.
I feel like most people don't understand the repercussions bookstores face when you choose to purchase your books online just so you can save a couple dollars. And I get it. I'm a broke college student who would much rather spend $11 on a brand new hardcover than $17. But when you think about it, how much fun comes from “browsing” books on the internet? What about that feeling you get when you walk into a bookstore and see rows upon rows of amazing titles? When you shop online, there's no way to actually hold the book in your hands and flip through its pages before purchasing. There's no way to “test” books out online, you just buy them, wait a week, and hope for the best. What if you don't like it? Sure, you can return them to the site, but then you have to pay for shipping to return it and wait another 2-3 weeks to get your refund. Doesn't that sound like a hassle?
And what about the people you meet? Sure, we've all had our experiences with cranky customer service people who don't really know what they're talking about, but there are always a few employees we come across who are more than happy to share great recommendations and help you find an awesome title, perhaps an obscure book you may have overlooked before. I'm not just talking about employees either. I've met so many people in bookstores, browsing the same shelves as me, only to end up in conversation about the latest and greatest novels we've picked up. Can you do that online? I think not.
I totally understand that there are some places where bookstores are basically nonexistent, or the closest one is like an hour away. In that case, I can accept that you would purchase your books online because that just makes way more sense. But for those of us that do have a bookstore 10 minutes away, why wouldn't you want to go there? If we don't spend our time in bookstores rather than online, then the bookstore 10 minutes away might close and the closest one will now be an hour away.
Don't you love going to author signings? I know you can't do that online. If we don't support local bookstores, there will be nowhere for authors to come and sign their books and chat with fans! I've been to countless book signings at different bookstores and I don't know what I would do if they all closed because they weren't making any money. Without bookstores, authors won't be able to have book launches and fun signings with cake and swag!
I love working in a bookstore because I get to learn about new and interesting books from customers and I get to meet incredibly interesting people with diverse opinions on the titles that fill our shelves every day. I'd much rather spend $17 on a book and have it in my hands that day, then spend $11 and have to wait 4 days. I'd much rather walk into a bookstore and browse the shelves for hours, feeling my way through the pages and smelling that “new book smell.” People take their local bookstores for granted, but didn't we learn anything from the closing of all Borders ever?
I know that for some people, saving money is really important. But if you're a lover of books, then shouldn't you be a lover of bookstores? Shouldn't you want to support the places that carry your precious (said like Gollum) and eagerly supply you with your current obsession? Shouldn't we want to encourage people to splurge on the latest J.K. Rowling novel at their local Barnes and Noble or Chapters? You can still save some money and still buy your books at the local bookstore. Just buy a couple at a time rather than splurging on a whole stack. I promise, it will be worth it in the end :)
Don't let bookstores become a thing of the past. Support them in every way you can. There's our own little slice of book lover heaven, a physical place we can go where a community of people are brought together over our shared love of literature. Bookstores are the Goodreads of our local communities, a place where we can discuss books with old and new friends. Bookstores provide us with the chance to meet our favorite authors and immerse ourselves in fantastic stories. Don't choose a $5 savings over that kind of magic, it's just not worth it.
As always, I'd love to hear what you guys want to talk about!