The Value Of A Local Bookstore

JT Ellison

Nelson Fox: Perfect. Keep those West-Side liberal nuts, pseudo-intellectuals…
Joe Fox: Readers, Dad. They’re called readers.
Nelson Fox: Don’t do that, son. Don’t romanticize them.

I was thinking about the movie You’ve Got Mail this week.

I remember talking about this movie once, I think on Facebook, and got scolded by a few commenters who were upset that it was one of my favorite movies. That I was a traitor to the cause because it showed Kathleen Kelly’s (Meg Ryan) The Shop Around The Corner going out of business because of the opening of the monolithic FoxBooks, run by Joe Fox (Tom Hanks). And despite the fact that he’s killed her dream, ruining the best thing in her life (or is it?) she falls in love with him.

I was rather hurt to be scolded, actually, because I was as horrified as the next person that her adorable shop was closed. But it was the reality of the time. The big superstores WERE coming in and putting the little guy out of business. The Internet was a relatively new thing. Email was something we all salivated over – because we suddenly had instant access to our friends. It was unique. And love, well, I am a sucker for a good love story.

All that aside… I hope Nora Ephron is reading Murderati, because it’s definitely time for a sequel to that flick.

Here’s the set up:

Kathleen and Joe have a son, Joe Junior, who is heir to Fox Books. He grows up in an idyllic time, his father’s chain growing and growing and growing, his mother becoming a wildly successful author. And then come the ebooks, the advent of which means Fox is going under. In bankruptcy, his inheritance, his whole future suddenly murky before him, he is strolling the wonderful suburban neighborhood he grew up in on the Upper West Side, wondering what’s next, when he sees a small shop that has a For Lease sign. As he ponders what might work in the shop, an idea comes to him. Open a small, independent bookstore that caters to customers, staffs voracious readers, and has a deal with the GoogleBooks and the Apple iBookstore and Nook and Kobo to sell ebooks directly from the store’s cool, hip, inexpensive new website.

Of course, he must keep this venture quiet from his parents. He goes online to see what he can find about indie bookstores, and through Twitter, meets a smart, beautiful, knowledgeable bookie who happens to want to open a bookstore herself.

Their exchanges go something like this: (FYI: In Twitter world, the @ sign designates who you are talking to…)

@shopgirl I was walking down the street today…

@shopgirl I saw an empty storefront…

@shopgirl I think I should buy it and open a bookstore that specializes in both ebooks and regular books….

@shopgirl We can call it the Shop Around the Corner. Cause it’s around the corner from my Dad’s old store.

@foxyman LOL

@shopgirl I’m serious

@foxyman That would be lovely. It’s something that I really miss.

@shopgirl Why? What do you miss?

@foxyman The simple charm of an actual bookstore, where you can go and talk about your favorite writers, sit in a comfy chair …

@foxyman and just hang out reading. It’s something people want. I miss it. Readers miss it too.

@shopgirl I was just playing around. You’re saying I really should open a bookstore?

@foxyman I’m saying, sometimes, people who are looking for coffee just want coffee.

Nora, if you’re reading, just give me a producer credit, okay?

In all seriousness, the high irony of this situation is that if bookstores can hold on to the marketshare Amazon is stealing, they’re probably going to make it through. Especially the indies. But across the board, that means, in addition to stocking print books, finding ways to connect your readers with ebooks.

I’ll say it again: Finding new and innovative ways to get your clientele to buy their ebooks through you will make all the difference. If you can cater to both the ebook and print book crowd, you’re golden.

So can independent bookstores manage with ebooks? I’m no expert, but look at this little deal I came across yesterday on Twitter, from Powells. That’s a good deal. It gets books in the hands of readers. It was a simple, easy click of a button, and boom: I have 25 novels on my GoogleBooks. Meanwhile, the actual store still caters to the people who come in off the street, but now, because of their clever promotion, readers from all over the country are getting product; booksellers, publishers and writers are all getting exposure.

Not bad. Yes, it’s a loss leader, but just like any sale, get them in the door and maybe they’ll buy something else. Spontaneity. That’s something that ebooks are capitalizing on, this feeling of oh, I want that, and 30 seconds later, you have it.

Also a very good use of social media, something indie booksellers need to focus on. I’m always surprised by how many stores don’t follow authors. Seems a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it? We read too… (I’m @thrillerchick, BTW)

Anyway, I had already written my little Twitter play up there when I heard some great news yesterday: Ann Patchett is in talks to open a bookstore in Nashville. She makes my point below:

I think we’ve got to get back to a 3000-square-foot store and not 30,000. Amazon is always going to have everything — you can’t compete with that. But there is, I believe, still a place for a store where people read books.

Amen to that, sister.

When we lost Davis Kidd, I was heartbroken. DK was a part of my Nashville mythology well before I was an author. It was the first place my then-boyfriend took me when he brought me home to meet his parents for the first time. (Smart boy, showing me the incredibly fine bookstore I would have daily access to.) A few years ago, Davis Kidd moved their store to the Green Hills Mall, just around the corner from their original, quirky, UNIQUE (again with the unique) home. That homogenization really took some of the glamour out of going there. But go there we did. They had a café, so lunch was a weekly thing. The staff was still the same, awesome and amazing. And there was more room for signings. And a big ass fireplace in the middle, which was very cool.

But as part of the Joseph-Beth bankruptcy, the doors of Davis Kidd Nashville were closed.

Borders closed soon after, leaving downtown Nashville without an original bookstore. There are two great stores that will stock original books on special order (original versus used) but it feels wrong, somehow, not to have a store in downtown Nashville that is the real deal.

When my last book came out, it was right after Borders announced they were closing the store, and I had no place to go sign the books. Going to visit my book in the wild is one of the “rights of passage” for release day, along with Thai food and champagne.

I had no place to sign books.

I was very, very sad. Heartbroken, really. Nashville has an amazing library system, a huge literary community, and no bookstore.

< p>So hearing that Ann is getting involved makes me very happy. I will keep you abreast of the situation.

Today, let’s talk about our favorite bookstores. Even if it’s the Nook ebookstore… that’s fine. Just tell me what is special to you about where you buy your books. I’ll pick one commenter at random to win an ARC of my new book, WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE (9.20.11). Just a heads up (a point I’ll be belaboring from now until September) this one isn’t a thriller, but a gothic style psychological suspense.

Ready, steady, go!

Wine of the Week: Daniel Gehrs Cabernet Sauvignon Deep, dark and luscious, with a really long smooth finish. Excellent.

36 thoughts on “The Value Of A Local Bookstore

  1. Catherine

    JT you know I love a little store that's in the CBD of Brisbane…Rosemary's Romance that stocks your books. It has a bookcase devoted to thrllers/suspense/crime, and when they have the front facing books they put this little elastic tie around them that has a few faux pearls. I love seeing your books formally attired there. I think I've sent you a pic at one stage when you first started your career. This business used to have a large mail order basis, and now has an online store too. But damn those little pearl enhanced books are hard to walk away from.

    The other favourite book store I have is Rosetta Books in Maleny Qld. They've recently moved to bigger premises. It's housed in what used to be a farm supply and clothing store. There are great wide planked timber floors, and high vaulted ceilings and nooks for reading and books, lots and lots of books. Some cool lighting enhances the warmth of the building and yet still helps a customer be able to read. Helpful. The staff are all terrific too.

    It's big enough now that you can stand back to peruse the shelves and not step on someone else, but small enough to still feel intimate.

    The other day I was nestled in a tufted leather armchair flipping through a a rather food porn-ish, italian slow cooker recipe book when Anne the owner grabbed a footstool and asked me whether I thought she had catered enough food for an upcoming book signing for Geraldine Brooks.I'm not sure how she managed it but Anne was able to get Geraldine out off the beaten track to a country store to do a signing for her new book Caleb's Crossing.Maybe mad keen readers helped a bit.

    It's this mix of seeking feedback,chutzpah and creating a sense of belonging in a shared love of books in this warm lovely store that differentiates this bookstore from some of the larger model stores. Sorry about the awkward sentence it's Friday night here and it's been a hell of a week…I'm hoping the gist what I'm trying to share comes through ok. I'm too weary to edit but do love trying to communicate how cool these bookstores are.

    There are times where I could easily buy a book online, but I want to support the sort of passion Anne brings to Rosettas so instead I either wander in and get what I didn't know I needed till I see it, or email off the details of whatever has taken my fancy and ask if they can get it in for me. Their service rocks.

    I'm a bit of a book junkie and there are a few other bookstores I could attest to for other reasons, but these two are the ones I frequent the most.

    I love the title of your new book. Very evocative for a gothic style psychological suspense.

  2. Chuck

    Ahhh, JT. You've chosen an excellent subject today. I've gotten to where I skip over the closings section of Publisher's Lunch. Too depressing. It's not too dissimilar from what I've done with my 401k statements for over half of the last decade, or what I do when I get an email from my agent with the title of my submission followed by the crappy acronym "FYI…"

    Unfortunately, at the moment I don't have a favorite bookstore. I do give one of the local B&N's plenty of business, and of course our friends at Amazon. But there was one, about twenty years ago, I fell in love with: The Stars & Stripes bookstore in Giessen, Germany. I visited it each and every time I went to the PX. Often times it was before a long field exercise. I would buy two or three paperbacks, knowing that those books were the only form of entertainment I would receive out in cold and damp of the dreaded "field".

    It was from that bookstore I discovered so many authors, so many techniques, so many adventures. In fact, had I never gone into that Stars & Stripes, I would wager that I would have never taken up writing.

    Thanks for stirring up the memory.

  3. JD Rhoades

    Favorite bookstore: McIntyre's in Pittsboro. Cozy layout, great staff, fine selection for a small indie.

    A sad note: just learned that my favorite used bookstore, the Skylight Exchange in Chapel Hill, closed earlier this year. Damn.

    BTW, killed a spammer for you. You're welcome.

  4. Jake Nantz

    Honestly, my favorite bookstore is a used book store at the beach where my parents live. See, we don't have a home big enough for a "library" room, and my wife isn't one for overflowing bookshelves, so we have a select few hardcovers on a shelving unit in one room, and the rest we buy on the Kindle.

    However, I am always trying to get more of my students reading, so I stock as many cheap paperbacks in my room at school as I have space for. I have my Creative Writing kids use them for a lot of things in class, and they have to be reading a novel from the genre in which they like to write while the class is going on. I let the kids take them home if they like them, and just ask that they replace the book with something similar if they decide to hang on to it. Problem is, they're high school kids, so that's a level of responsibility that most of them don't have yet, which means I constantly need to refresh, and on my salary, a used paperback store affords me the opportunity to get more book for my buck.

    That means more options to turn a kid who "don't like reading" into a kid who goes, "Wow, this is a pretty cool story, wonder what happens next…." That's why I whenever I win a contest online that an author is holding, I try to get them to send me a paperback if possible. I've had signed gifts go out the door after being read by several students. I've had kids take (and in some cases keep) books by a lot of you guys, as well. JT, you sent me a signed copy of Judas Kiss that has made the rounds and is now gone. I've seen copies of Brett's books, Dusty's books, Tess's books, and RGB's books leave my room numerous times. All of them belong to former students now.

    So while it may suck as a published writer to hear that someone's favorite bookstore is a place where the writer doesn't get a cut, I like to think I'm still helping in other ways, by expanding readership. Happy Friday everybody!

  5. PK the Bookeemonster

    When I was working in my MBA, my goal was to open a bookstore. Going through the classes I came to realize that it couldn't survive unless there was an angel continually putting in lots of cash. So the dream wasn't to be. However, what I had envisioned was a store that only carried mystery and romance books, the two top selling genres. It was going to be called Crime and Passion Bookstore. Ah, well.
    Billings has only one independent bookstore, it's downtown and not set up for people to lounge. We do have a B&N and a Borders but who knows how long that one will be open with their financial troubles. Over the years, I have had to turn to Amazon because of the depth of their holdings. Bookstores don't tend to carry crime fiction much beyond the A list.

  6. Kat

    I have several favorites, but BookPeople in Austin Texas is at the top of the list. An incredible selection for an independent. The staff is knowledgeable and very helpful, and they always have events going on. Another favorite is Murder by the Book in Houston. Again, the staff is amazing. Just wish they weren't 3 hours away!

  7. Amy

    JT you are more than welcome to call Reading Rock Books in Dickson, TN your bookstore. We love it when you come and do your booksignings and look forward to seeing you in September!

  8. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Catherine, Rosemary is a FORCE!!! (and a great dancer…) I envy you being able to just drop in there.

    JT, I love your re-visioning of YGM. I just saw that again last week, I'm using examples from it in my new book. It is amazing to me how many people hate that movie because they get together in the end.

  9. Fran

    It's obvious even to a luddite that e-book sales are the only way to stay alive in this market, which is interesting because when I talked to local indie bookstores about them preparatory to getting our e-book sales online (July 1st!), actually not many e-book sales are happening at indies. They're all straight from Amazon or B&N or directly from Google. One indie told me, "If we sell 10 e-books in a month, it's a banner month".

    As a corollary question, though, JT, and absolutely not to hijack your incredible post (I love love love the sequel!), if you knew your local indie bookstore was in trouble, what would you do? That's a generic "you", not you personally, Sweetie! We've watched the closings as well, and people always say, "Darn, it's a shame" and "I wish I'd known they were in trouble", but then there's the shrug, it's a sign of the times and folks move on. It's absolutely terrifying to those of us who work in indie bookstores, so I wonder.

    After all, Kathleen Kelly rallied the troops, but the little shop closed anyway. And that may be the sad reality.

  10. Karen in Ohio

    JT, I LOVE this idea! And it could work in real life, too.

    Our Joseph Beth is still hanging on by its fingertips, although every time I'm in that store there are fewer books and more other merchandise. But their kids' department is still packed to the gills with books, thank goodness. Twice in the last month I've met friends for a meal at their lovely Bronte Cafe, and we never leave without browsing the stacks.

    My Nook is really getting a workout, though, and I've discovered that some of the more esoteric books my book club friends choose for us to read are much more readily available via Nook Books than at any bookstore or library locally. And I can almost wait until the last minute to read them.

  11. Jyoti Wind

    Boulder Book Store in Boulder, CO. An independent book store that's been able to keep going through the advent of a Barnes and Noble and a Borders (which just closed). They stock new and used books, a full range selection from poetry and art books to sci fi fantasy, mystery, spoken word, etc.
    Boulder Cafe adjoins through a walk-thru doorway and serves the best deserts.
    Love book stores, my favorite haunt.
    Another good one in Boulder is The Bookworm, a used book store I've supported for over 25 yrs.

  12. Sherrie

    JT, I am super excited about the new bookstore that Ann Patchett is planning. I would love to see Nashville get a bookstore that is comparable with the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ. Even though I no longer live in Nashville, I am back there enough to be a great patron at the new bookstore. I am still resisting buying an E-reader because I love having the books in hand. I think it's important that readers have a way to connect with authors. I have a lot of fond memories of Davis Kidd. I went to a LOT of booksignings there–I did enjoy them more at the older store than the newer one though. After all, Davis Kidd is where I met one of my favorite authors, JT Ellison. Cheers!

  13. Sherrie

    JT, I am super excited about the new bookstore that Ann Patchett is planning. I would love to see Nashville get a bookstore that is comparable with the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ. Even though I no longer live in Nashville, I am back there enough to be a great patron at the new bookstore. I am still resisting buying an E-reader because I love having the books in hand. I think it's important that readers have a way to connect with authors. I have a lot of fond memories of Davis Kidd. I went to a LOT of booksignings there–I did enjoy them more at the older store than the newer one though. After all, Davis Kidd is where I met one of my favorite authors, JT Ellison. Cheers!

  14. Kate Gallison

    Farley's in New Hope is an old time bookstore, kind to authors, helpful to readers, packed with amazing and lovely books of every kind, and located a short walk from my house. I see that they have a website (http://farleys.indiebound.com/), a Facebook page, a Twitter presence, and all the accouterments of modern life. They don't serve coffee–no reason why they should, in a nest of coffee-houses like Lambertville-New Hope–and as far as I know they don't offer e-books. Yet.

  15. David Corbett

    JT:

    I actually sent your post to the owner of my favorite local indie, Bookshop Benicia. It's hanging on by a thread, the landlord wants to put in something else and sales are hopeless, but they keep re-inventiong themselves. I'm going to start giving classes there, and we'll just see. I think your eBook idea is great. "Let us help you load your eBook reader!" If you can't beat em …

    But my fave bookstore of all time? Long's Bookstore in Columbus. I worked there when I went to Ohio State. There was a special book room in the deepest reaches of the basement where they stored old textbooks nobody needed anymore (they let first editions of Elliott's FOUR QUARTETS just rot — a crime). There was one book I remember, called "Superlative Types." I thought, Oh cool, Platonic philosophy (such a geek). I opened it up, and it was page after page of the most exquisite pen drawings of hens and roosters you've ever seen. There were 19th century texts on Personal Magnetism with these beautiful hand-worked leather covers, and a textbook on relativity from 1921 (still have that one).

    But the truly great thing about the room was that when you turned out the lights it was utterly, totally, mind-alteringly dark. Disorienting blackness. No sense of space, like you half expected gravity to loosen its hold.

    I made out like a bandit in that room (if you catch my drift).

  16. Mollie Katie

    I wrote a response of my own about how local bookstores have value, and it's over here: http://wp.me/p16UqL-aA … (My favorite local indie bookstores are The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA; and The Yellow Umbrella and Where The Sidewalk Ends, both in Chatham, on Cape Cod, MA.)

    But I also wanted to comment on the "You've Got Mail" thing too! It's also one of my favorite movies, but the ending is bittersweet for us book lovers. The movie was in part a lovely homage to the indie bookstore and its fight to escape from the jaws of huge chain retailers, like Barnes & Noble and Borders. Kathleen Kelly and the staff at The Shop Around The Corner valiantly fought against Fox Books and lost. The technological love story with e-mail, not just the recipient himself, foreshadows the coming takeover by Amazon.Com and other internet retailers as well — just as you pointed out. There's a reality to that situation that's often absent in the stereotypical romantic comedy.

    Kathleen Kelly lives to fight another day though, as an author or a children's book editor — I forget which exactly but I recall it being said that she had the kind of exquisite taste to go far on the 'production' of the book industry rather than the 'distribution' side.

    Anyway! There's that moment where she goes into the big newly opened Fox Books and overhears a mother looking for 'the shoe books' but not knowing the author. The Fox Books employee is clueless. Crying, Kathleen rattles off the name and spelling of the author in question and says to start with 'Skating Shoes' because it's the loveliest. Or something to that effect. This moment is just the epitome of the bittersweet for me. The mom will be able to buy more of the shoe books for her daughter because of the Fox Books price point than she would have been able to at The Shop Around The Corner, but that personal touch and insider knowledge and just pure love of books on the part of the Fox Books employee just isn't there. He's not there to make a career, he's just a high schooler biding his time until he graduates. The difference between a McDonald's and a Chez Josef.

    I just thought that moment in "You've Got Mail" should be highlighted, continuing on with your thought process.

  17. Allison Brennan

    Great advice, and I'd totally go see that movie! (Though the original wasn't my favorite … it was cute.)

    I have had a dream of having my own bookstore ever since I was 15 and got my first job at the now long-defunct Crown Books. I wanted to redesign the store, add coffee and a cafe, and dump the "boring books." But Crown had it's own niche (cheap books and bestsellers) and I didn't understand that at 15. πŸ™‚ … then I found a little bookstore in Palo Alto across from the old movie theater and it had exactly what I wanted. Lots of books in a cozy atmosphere with a little eating area for coffee, pastries and reading the newspaper. Of course, in my newly conceived bookstore it would be a cyber cafe with all the news and arts & culture links bookmarked πŸ™‚ And of course I would carry mass market books, as well as whatever my specialty was. (Which would have to be something I love, so I'd sell genre fiction.) And as far as making a profit in order to stay in business, I'd have to do an ebook station where people can download to any of their devices after my e-dedicated staff member helps them find the right books. Also, it would be a meeting place for clubs, the go-to place for author signings, and sell gifts for readers, writers, graduates, and those hard-to-find-gifts-for-people. I even know where I would open it up in Elk Grove. (I have one of two locations in mind … )

    However, I certainly don't have the capital to start it! Maybe someday …

  18. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    JT – What you've done, dear, is give away a really good pitch for the sequel to YGM. You should have had Scott arrange a series of pitch meetings for you in L.A. so you can actually participate in writing the sequel. I think it would be a great story. You could pitch it to Meg Ryan's company.
    I am also sending your post to a friend of mine who was let go when my local Borders was closed. He was the store manager. He's put together a business plan to open his own indie bookstore and he's got some financial backing, but the banks won't give him a loan because they feel a bookstore is a bad investment. He's a real sharp guy and he's been a bookseller for twenty years or so. (He remembers when Michael Connelly came in to do signings and only had a book or two to his name).

    Favorite bookstores: Either/Or in Hermosa Beach (closed after 30 yrs. in business), Midnight Special in Santa Monica (closed), Mystery Bookstore in Westwood (closed), City Lights in SF, Powell's in Portland.

  19. Allison Davis

    I was with my niece this last weekend looking for her specialty YA series books (no I don't remember what they are…vampires and zombies likely) at Red Hill in Bernal Heights, a wonderful store in West Portal, Dog Eared on Valencia in the Mission…I buy a book every time I go in no matter what just because it's important. I feel rich I am so close to all those stores. I feel guilty when I order on Amazon. Oh, and we stopped at Book Passages on our way back from buying riding boots in Fairfax (Marin County)…home of the Mystery Writers Conference. The whole tour.

    And Jake, I'll need your address…all those books I'm buying to support the stores, I'll send them to you when I'm done for your kids. HA!

    JT, you stirred hostalgia and entrepreneurship all at once, good job. And get busy on that screenplay….

  20. JT Ellison

    You guys are so totally awesome! Bear with me, I'll be back tonight with more detailed responses… This post went up instead of my ever boring I'm on deadline post, but I am on deadline, so all my Internet is off and I'm writing my tail off.

    Three quick things: Stephen, if you want to pitch it, I'd be honored to co-write it with you.

    And my favorite stores list is long and varied, but Amy, darling, if I lived in Dickson, I'd camp in Reading Rock Books. Would you and Laura like to guest blog for me next time and talk about how you're making an indie with ebooks work?

    Fran, on the closing of DK, we weer given no warning at all. The staff found out Thursday night at 8 and the media at 10. Thye laid down the liquidation plans over the weekend, snd the following Tueday was the last author event. We formed a Facebook protest page, wrote letters, had a fundraiser, had a luncheon for the staff, vociferously complained across the board, but the decision was made. If given the chance, I'm sure we could have gotten enough authors involved to buy them out. That's where real indies have a chance-they can rally their readers to help prior to shutting their doors. All hands on deck, and the like.

    And if course, if I was in the position Ann Patchett is, I'd open one myself too.

  21. Rachel

    I worked at Borders for close to 5 years before we liquidated our store in April. It was a second home to me, and I miss the staff, the books, and the customers. (Especially the precocious kids reading way above their grade level and asking for recommendations.) I know that we were part of an "evil corporate" chain that moved in on indies, but I found that the majority of people who chose to work at our store truly did love books and reading. For a personalized recommendation, you just had to know which staff member to ask. We all relied on each other to have an area of expertise and did our best to find great homes for great books.

    Our neighborhood has no bookstore now, and it is very disheartening. In the end, if people want to have a local bookstore, whether it be chain or indie – they need to make sure to buy their books at such a store, or it won't exist for very long.

    In high school, I used to spend every weekend at a used bookstore in Evanston, IL called Stars Our Destination. They stocked me with classic sci fi and fantasy and understood when I brought them a stack of books taller than myself that I wanted to take home with me. That was a great store!

  22. David Corbett

    Although I praised my local indie earlier, and love it dearly, given all the props accorded Book Passage, I feel a need to chime in and agree. By far, the most important bookstore in the bay area, the most influential, and the most committed not just to reading but writing. They have incredible classes there, and I've had the chance to teach a few. A great outreach to potential students, wonderful events, smart booksellers. Elaine and Bill Petrocelli know how to do it right — despite having a Barnes & Noble just a few blocks away.

  23. billie

    I wrote a comment and then forgot to do the code thing!

    Favorite bookstores:

    Paris: Shakespeare and Company (go take a look at their website! I had no idea!)

    Austin, TX: Book People

    LA, CA: Book Soup and The Bodhi Tree

    NC: Country Bookshop in S. Pines, McIntyre's in Pittsboro, the Regulator in Durham, and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

    And I have to say – I have always and will always support the indies – but Amazon got me through a number of years when I had two children under the age of 3, and they have made it possible for my books to have a home. So… there's a place for both in my world.

    LOVE the pitch for the sequel to You've Got Mail. If you and Stephen write it, I will cheer from the middle of the theatre. πŸ™‚

  24. Barbie

    I'm really sorry to disappoint. I live in Brazil. The books I read are pretty much all American and English. These books are not sold here, because the Brazilian market for books is already flawed, and the Brazilian market for imported books (in a country the most people can barely speak their own language, let alone a second one fluently enough that they'll read a book in it for pleasure) is practically nonexistent. Kindle is the only eReader that works internationally (well, iPad, but it's too heavy and I have an iPhone, so, I love my Kindle better), so, I shop for books at Amazon.

    Shame on me?

    I wish Nook worked in Brazil though. Why, you ask? WHY? Shallowest motive ever. Color. Nook Color. Kindle is either Beige or Graphite. I love colors πŸ™‚

  25. Sylvia

    The Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA has had an e-Books program for a while now – http://www.bookpassage.com/ebooks#ebooks_account

    Not only for their survival but they have been on the anti-Amazon for tax reasons – money flowing to Amazon doesn't support the community like buying local.

    Borders has closed but B&N is still open. While I do admit to browsing B&N I always end up at The Book Passage for their depth in selection when it comes to mysteries. They have authors and titles B&N doesn't stock.

  26. lil Gluckstern

    I live in Half Moon Bay, California, and buy almost all my books from Bay Book and Tobacco. They are have a real good fiction, mystery and sci fi collection, and will order any book that my heart desires. Also children's books for grand kids. The staff is varied and wonderful; I've known them for years and satisfy the need to interact with PEOPLE. I love my kindle; it satisfies my book addiction for only epublished books. But I have a monthly budget for my bookstore. They are making it so far πŸ˜‰

  27. Jake Nantz

    Allison Davis – Hey, I'll take 'em, believe me. The more kids I can get reading, the better our world will be (and I firmly believe that). Hell if nothing else, you can send 'em to Cary High School in Cary, NC and they'll get to me!

    And how on earth did I leave out Quail Ridge Books?!? Billie, you're right on the money with that one!

  28. JT ellison

    So here we are, Saturday morning, and I'm feeling terribly guilty, because I ended up writing 6700 words yesterday, Randy came home and gave me a wrist massage because my hands were so cramped up, we ate pizza and drank a glaass of wine and I fell asleep. Out cold. So I never made it back to talk. So I'll make it up to you, somehow….

    But right now I'm going back to work. I can smell the end. Smell it! Xo

  29. Thomas kaufman

    Politics and Prose in Washington, DC, is everything a book store should be — a great place to discover new books, get helpful recommendations from folks who actually read books themselves, as well as have a nosh and meet friends. For a while, it seemed the store might close, but with its new owners the future is bright.

    I'm glad Nashville is getting an indie store back downtown, and enjoyed reading your thoughtful column.

  30. Kathy Sales

    My favorite local bookstore is Murder by the Book in Houston. Although I don't live close to it, I have visited it, and I often order books from them. The store is friendly, welcoming, and well-stocked.Their service is outstanding. Many top authors stop there for book signings.

  31. Laura

    I agree with the fact that working in an independent bookstore is terrifying at the moment. In the current economic climate most people don't seem care where their books come from so long as they come cheap! When I do all the research for a customer (you know, when they can't remember the title, but it has a blue-ish cover and the main character may have been called Ben…) you track it down, and finally say "Ok, we can definitely get that, it'll take about a week or two to arrive in store, and we'll call you as soon as it arrives" The customer looks at you and says "A week or two??? that long, what do they have to do, print a new one??" And you bristle slightly and explain that the order needs to placed, processed and picked with the distributor, shipped out to us and processed and received on our end… and then they say "Oh. I'll just get it off the internet" (I mean, I understand if they say, I'll try another store or even "I'll have a think and call you if I decide to order it) But I feel the phrase "I'll just get it off the internet" they may as well be saying I don't give a sh*t about your job, your gorgeous indie store or the wonderful service you provided. I feel like yelling at their back "THANKS FOR THE JOB SECURITY!" Bah! Rant over. I swear.
    My favourite indie is (apart from my own store http://www.robinsonsbooks.com.au) Readers Feast in Melbourne. My favourite second hand store is Arty Bees books in New Zealand. (I send out of print requests to my sister for her to look for me, she lives around the corner from them..)
    I know my post is late, but we'll definitely be linking this on our Facebook page.
    Thanks J.T

  32. P A Wilson

    Cute idea for a movie.

    I think it's interesting that people miss the bookstore, not because of books, but because of the atmosphere. Perhaps the new model for a bookstore should be a coffee shop or bistro that has books. you can buy.

    As long as people don't buy enough books, the book stores will close.

  33. JT Ellison

    Hey, Mollie Katie – Random Number Generator picked 15 – that's you!
    Send me your address and I'll get WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE in the mail!

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