The last Saturday of April is designated Independent Bookstore Day. Not this year. It’s been pushed back to Aug. 29 in the hopes bookstores will actually be open.
Reading is one thing people have been doing more than usual in all the doom and gloom/self-isolation of coronavirus. This is good for authors, publishers and book sellers. It’s also good for the people doing the reading.
IndieBookstoreDay.com says, “Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent. In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year. And they are at your service.”
When I went on a book tour of sorts last summer for The Dirt Around Lake Tahoe: Must-Do Scenic Hikes, I was truly shocked by how many independent bookstores exist. (This was in Northern California and Northern Nevada.) For years it seemed like the only news was how bookstores were shuttering their doors as people opted to read eBooks or shop Amazon. All but a few of the owners of these stores were gracious with their time. I understand they get bombarded by authors/publishers all the time to carry one more book. Many shared words of encouragement to me as a first-time author. They offered me time to do signings and presentations. It is a partnership after all between author/publisher and seller. We both make more money when books are bought via a bookstore. A lot more money.
That doesn’t mean I’m anti-Amazon. So many of my sales have come from the online retailer. I am grateful for that platform as well. I just want people to understand when they have a choice where to buy a book, buy it directly from the author, second best is from a local retailer. After all, it’s not just bookstores that carry books. I am so thankful several specialty shops are carrying my hiking book.
Until things return to normal, whatever that may look like post-corona, I will mostly be selling Snowshoeing Around Lake Tahoe: Must-Do Scenic Treks and Lake Tahoe Trails For All Season: Must-Do Hiking and Snowshoe Treks directly and online. (They were published this year. The latter is a combo of the hiking and snowshoe book.) I have plenty of the hiking books, too. If you aren’t able to go to a local retailer right now, consider using IndieBound to find a book. (It’s a great resource even without a pandemic.) Put in the book title and your ZIP code to find a book retailer that has the book you want. If it’s not in stock, they can order it. There are bookstores that are mailing books even while the doors are closed. Don’t ever forget your local bookstores.
The latest online option is Bookshop. It’s an alternative to Amazon for book buyers. Bookstores can use this an online option, and it’s available to all consumers. Financially, this is a better option for authors and bookstores. Be sure to bookmark it.