Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Books & Such Central Valley Office
First,congratulations to the winners from yesterday! I assigned a number to each comment and asked my husband to pick six numbers. Here are the winners: Stephanie Hovland, Morgan L. Busse, Diane Storz, Ava Pennington, Christina Lindsay and Michael K. Reynolds. Please send me your mailing addresses (Wendy[at]booksandsuch.com) and I’ll get your book out to you. You’re going to love it.
Today, we’re talking bookstores. I had the most wonderful bookstore, Garcia-Garst Booksellers, here in our town for twenty of the thirty years I’ve lived in this valley. How I miss them. Bev Garst used to keep lists of the authors or illustrators we loved and as soon as a book was released, she’d call. During those years I never missed a release from my favorite authors. Plus it was a great place to go to browse the antiquarian books. Bev is the one who introduced me to many of the books I now treasure. When I walked in she’d always greet me with something like, “You are not going to believe what I just bought. I was able to get the entire Honey Bunch collection in matching binding.” And I knew I was adding another series to my collection. Where does one get that kind of attention and service today?
The movie, You’ve Got Mail, dealt with the conflict between the big box bookstore and the small independent bookstore. Since that movie released things have only gotten more grim for the owner-operated stores in our country. And I mourn their demise.
Yes, we love the superstores with coffee bars that have miles of bookshelves but where are the owners or salespeople who were passionate about books? The people who know everything about our favorite authors? Who know our reading habits and can recommend the perfect book for us? (Besides Amazon who does it with amazing precision based on past preferences.)
What I want to know is:
- Where is the bookstore that serves its community as a waterhole– a place to gather?
- Where is the bookstore that understands that reading is a social activity? The bookstore that has reading groups and employees ready to discuss a book with a customer?
- Where is the bookstore that looks like 84 Charring Cross Road and the employee who is willing to maintain a lifelong relationship with a customer?
I know they must still exist. Wouldn’t it be a great road trip across America to try to visit all the fine independent bookstores from sea to shining sea?
Your turn: If you were to open a bookstore of your own, what would you do differently? What would it be like? Or just tell us about your wonderful bookstore.