Happy belated Independent Bookstore Day!
So, I come from two places — I'm an indie book editor, but I used to work with the "Big Five" too,. Thinking about indie bookstores through both of those lenses, I can unwaveringly tell you how important they are.
It's not that I have an agenda against Amazon or big-box bookstores, but ultimately their goals are to feed the cash cow. When John Oliver's book came out and it was Amazon-only, it was to make the most money as quickly as possible. When Barnes & Noble sends out coupons and lists every new book at 20% off, it's because, as a corporation, it can afford to.
Investing in an indie bookstore is investing in a kinship. Staff members of indie bookstores put their heart and soul into booking author signings, organizing events, and decorating displays out of passion and love, rather than for a paycheck. And I totally understand that you can order from Amazon while wearing pajamas and eating Chinese food, but if you want to support your local literary community, I urge you to take the extra ten minutes to head over to an independent bookstore, even if it means putting some pants on. And if pants aren't on your agenda, the majority of them do online sales too.
Personally, whenever I travel, indie bookstores are the first thing I check out in a new town. And now that it's spring (aka road trip season) I intend to visit some new ones. So much so that I'm working on a comprehensive road trip map of the best independent book stores in the United States. From big names like The Strand to tiny ones nestled inside nursing homes, this map will be your all-inclusive guide to literary bliss — so make sure you watch your inboxes in the next few days.