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July 30, 2010

Shop Local: Why Independent Bookstores Rock

Posted by Dana

I had lunch yesterday with an author friend of mine who had his first novel published this year. He's still trying to figure things out in publishing world, so he was asking some questions about how and why things are the way they are.

indiebound.gifOne of the things he wanted to know was why he should participate in signings and events at independents when they often didn't seem to draw as big a crowd or sell as many books as the chains.

Of course, some Indies are going to run a better even than others, and of course some authors are going to draw a bigger crowd than others and obviously plenty of authors have also had less than positive experiences at the chains.

But here's where Indies really excel... they know books.  And authors... and most of all their customers... you.  So they will take the time to hand sell an authors book that they like and they'll work twice as hard for that author if there's a relationship.

From the customer side, know that they are also working really hard for you.  They, unlike the chains, literally care about you.  Not YOU the generic customer, but you... Sally or Kathy.  They want to help you find the perfect book.  They want to bring authors in so you'll have the experience of meeting them.

So, though chains and online stores can be convenient and therefore tempting,  I encourage you to take that extra time to head over to your local independent and even more than that, I encourage you to attend their author events so that new authors like my friend will never have to wonder why they should be spending time there.

Getting off my soap box now.  

-- Dana Barrett, Contributing Editor