Saturday, May 19, 2012

Declaration of Independents (Bookstores, That Is)

This week, I took a nice drive over to Asheville with friends, eating at Tupelo Honey's before heading to Malaprop's Bookstore, where Tamra Wilson was reading from her new short story collection Dining with Robert Redford (about which I will be writing more soon.)  I'll admit that I am a sucker for bookstores--new or used, but I have a special fondness for independent bookstores. 

Just as I get the best music recommendations from a mom and pop record store (which are now in smaller numbers than their bookstore counterparts), I know I can count on the best book chat at the indies.  Even though I've been away from Nashville for years, I still grieved at the closing of David Kidd Booksellers there (and rejoiced to hear that Ann Patchett had ventured with a partner to open Parnassus Books).  I have been a member of Lemuria Books' First Editions Club, even though I've yet to visit Jackson, Mississippi.  Here in Western North Carolina, Malaprop's has kept its fine reputation for years.  They regularly host readings by authors both well-known and first-timers.

During the discussion after Tammy's reading, the woman introducing her and leading the questions and answers mentioned that for readers not addicted solely to paper and ink, e-books may now be purchased from the independents.  She pointed me to the link on the store webpage (available at other indie's sites too) and added that even owners of the Kindle Fire can now buy and read books from "real bookstores" and not just from Amazon.  I tried it, downloading the indiebound app (I also downloaded the Google Reader, which I found I didn't need) and following the directions I found on the blog below:

What difference does it make if I buy from Amazon or an independent?  Lots!  If I want bookstores to continue to exist, to host readings, to allow me to "judge a book by its cover," I need to do my part in keeping them around.  Buying indie doesn't cost any more than going the other route either.  Walking into a bookstore on a rainy Thursday evening though. . . .

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