Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Independent Bookstores

I’m a fan of the independent bookstores and I’m thankful for them. I appreciate the hominess, the love and care books are shown, and the fact that the people that work in independent books stores are interested in books and their authors. I’ve yet to go into an independent bookstore that I didn’t want to visit for hours on end. I’ve been in numerous ones in the last year while out selling Nick’s New Heart. None are the same and each has a charm all their own.

One particular bookstore outside of Pittsburg has shelves twelve feet high, in a long narrow building with tables piled high with books. There was no place to sit but the owner had such a love for books he could tell you where a book was located in the chaos. He agreed to add mine to it. And I was honored to have it there.
Dog Eared Books in Madison, Georgia is the kind of bookstore where you want to have a cup of tea, settle into the plump sofa and read away a cold rainy day.

I encourage you to support the independent bookstores. They are the backbone of the book industry. Three independent bookstores go out of business each week, which is a shame. With the big, all business bottom line bookstores struggling now, I hope to see independent bookstores make a strong come back.

Authors need them because the owners love books more than a big bottom line. Visit your nearest independent book and see if I’m not right.


Maxine Davis said...

Loved your post! There was an indep bookstore in Warner Robins for years when I lived there. It was just like you described--shelves everywhere, a sitting area, a pot of coffee. I don't know if she made a penny profit, but I went in often. She had some great books you don't find everywhere and I bought some unique ones. I used to envy her around her books all day. The rocking chair there was hers and she would tell you!

Cinthia Hamer said...

Susan, I, too, love the independent bookstores. In this uncertain economy, I fear for them, and hope that they'll weather the storm and come out shining on the other side.

We have a two-store "chain" near us called "Books For Less". They have a huge selection of used books and quite often I can find things I'd never find in a chain store.

Plus, they have a small section in the front of new titles. If what I'm looking for isn't there, they'll order it for me and have it in just a few days. Love it.

This past Saturday, I went to a "tea and gossip" event featuring GRW's own Haywood Smith. :)

Tami Brothers said...

Love this, Susan! I remember being a young girl and watching movies that revolved around the awesome love stories that were associated with really cool, small independent book stores. I don't know if I wanted to visit one for the feel or in hopes of meeting a cool hero (like in the movies..grin..) there.

As a grown up, I don't think I've ever really found one. But then again, I have not looked. I'll have to keep an eye out for one. Thanks for this insight, Susan...


Linsey Lanier said...

What a great thought, Susan. I love all bookstores, independent or not. Libraries too. There's just something about a place filled with books. But you're right. Indies have even more of that atmosphere.

I go to "Books for Less," too for my fix. Glad I'm married to a man who loves going to bookstores, too. :)


Carol Burnside said...

Independent bookstores are a good thing for a writer to be thankful for. And you're right. We should patronize them more often. It was a sad day when the Chapter 11 that we had our GRW booksignings at went out of business.

Susan May said...

Thank you Ladies. I always have a hard time when I visit the bookstores not being able to sit and stay for the day. (My family sitting in the car waiting on me frown on it.) I've never met a mean bookstore owner. They love books and authors.

Didn't Coral make me look great on this post?

Dianna Love said...

Wonderful post Susan. I do love independent bookstores for their individuality and love of books. We have one in Peachtree City called Omega Books that hosted my first signing and many other first signings of new GRW authors plus well established ones like Mary Kay Andrews.

Sherlock's bookstore in Tennessee is amazing. If any of you go near Nashville you should stop in and meet the owners. They've built a new high concept store that makes browsing great fun (even have small carts to push around). And both of these independent stores are NYT reporting stores.

Cyrano said...

I've never been in an independantly owned bookstore. I'm sure I'm missing out.
I haunt the Borders around the block from me. Yes it's a chain, big business type deal, but I happen to like it very much. All of the employees know my name. Thay say hello to me each time I come in (which is probably two or three times weekly) and the coffee people even know my Borders rewards number by heart so I don't even have to give it to them anymore.
My goal, before the end of this year is to visit an independant bookstore. I'm sure I'll love it as much as you do. And I'm so glad to hear your book is being shelved in all manner of shops!
Have a brilliantly, productive afternoon,

Debbie Kaufman said...

My local bookstore used to be independent but sometime within the last few years it became an affiliate or owned by (not sure which) Books-a-Million. It did change the atmosphere some, but not too much.

Marilyn Baron said...

I enjoyed your post. I just got back from a trip to Australia and New Zealand, and when we visited the Blue Mountains in Australia, we went to the picturesque mountain village of Leura. In addition to galleries, antique shops and restaurants, there was a wonderful independent bookstore. It was the kind of bookstore you might imagine would be featured in a romantic movie.

Marilyn Baron

Sandy Elzie said...


Love book stores...especially the independently owned ones. It's difficult for them in today's economy.

I'm blessed to have a husband who will go in with me and browse for hours and then sit with our books and drink lattes for another hours and just read. Gee, it's sure nice to be retired. (g)


Anna Steffl said...

Been to great and horrible independent bookstores. The great ones have figured out a way to makes themselves indispensable -- great featured books/authors, knowledgeable and friendly staff, specialized attention to certain genres. Bad ones...there's a reason they go out of business. Bad inventory, employees that can't be bothered, and worst -- the cats roaming the store are charming, but the smell of cat pee isn't!

I do wish there were more small shops scattered around town. I hate driving to the big boxes.

Interesting topic!

Ana Aragón said...


I love independent book stores! I had my "coming out" booksigning at Humpus Bumpus in Cumming and several of my GRW friends helped me celebrate! It was great fun.

I always thought that indies were more expensive, but have you been in a B&N lately? The books are every bit as pricy, plus I wind up buying a Starbucks and pastry, which really cuts into my budget!


Susan May said...

THanks for all the wonderful comments. Please do stop in and get the local book store a shot. I do love them.

Nicki Salcedo said...

You forgot to mention the smell. I love independent bookstores becuase they smell like books and not a coffee shop!

Alan said...

"A Community's Bricks and Mortar: Karibu" Read it at http://alanwking.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/a-communitys-bricks-and-mortar-karibu/