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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 co-founded WU in 2006 and is the site's editorial director. She was the architect and 1st editor of WU's only book, Author in Progress [10], and orchestrates the WU UnConference. [11] Her second novel, The Moon Sisters [12], was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal; and her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy [13] was a Target Breakout Book. Sign up for her newsletter [14] to be among the first to learn about her new projects (or follow her on BookBub [15]). Learn more on her website [16].