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Why Should Writers Care About Indie Bookstores?

Photobucket [1]I recently had the opportunity to read a letter written by an independent bookstore owner about the state of his business. Though it’s not my place to share those details here, I do want to talk about a general sentiment read in that letter that made me feel both sad and frustrated. It went something like this:

It’s not that people are deaf to the message that we’re here and struggling. They know they could do more to help small bookstores. But aside from a token gesture now and then, people are shutting down to small bookstores. What we hear more and more often is “Why should I help?”

It was the “Why” in this that got to me. Because I’m sorry for the store owners who’ve toiled and built and are now seeing ashes of their businesses. But also because we *do* need indie bookstores–especially authors. Have we really forgotten this? Even looking at it from the strictly selfish perspective of “What do we get out of this as writers and authors?” have we forgotten that:

Brunonia Barry usually writes here on the second Thursday of the month, however she’s going to be on leave through September while she works on her latest novel. In the interim, we’re going to use this day to talk indie bookstores–why we need them, as authors and readers.

Coincidentally, this is also the day of the month that Beyond the Margins [7], one of my favorite blogs, has chosen to profile indie bookstores. Today, they’re talking more about the store owner’s letter that I mentioned in my lead. [8] We hope you’ll hop over there to participate in their initiative, too–and add them to your sidebars, because they really are awesome. In the meanwhile, here’s a question for you:

Why do YOU care about indie bookstores? If you have a story you’d like to share about how an indie store impacted you, please sound out in comments or shoot us a note at writerunboxed@writerunboxed.com. Kath and I may just tap you on the shoulder in the coming months to see if you’d like to come over for a guest post.

Photo courtesy Flickr’s e_pics


About Therese Walsh [9]

Therese Walsh [10] is the editorial director of Writer Unboxed, and co-founded the site in 2006. She was the chief architect and first editor of the upcoming Writer Unboxed book, Author in Progress [11]. Her second novel, The Moon Sisters [12], was named a Best Book of 2014 by Library Journal [13]; and her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy [10] was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books of 2009 [14], and was a Target Breakout Book. She's never been published with a lit magazine, but LOST's Carlton Cuse liked her Twitter haiku [15] best and that made her pretty happy.