Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Local Bookstores Thrive In Cape Cod

I just returned from a lazy family vacation in Cape Cod and am happy to say the literary scene seems hopeful over there.

My wife and I drove our children, 9 and 6, to Chatham, MA, in an area one would describe as the elbow of the Cape.  It was our first family trip to Cape Cod.  I was in Hyannis last year for my foray into Cod life, speaking at a writer’s conference.  Judging by the happy faces at the end of our week-long sojourn to the outer edges of Massachusetts, I bet we’ll be back for many more summers.

Although the trip had plenty of highlights – whale watching off the coast of Provincetown, walking along hundreds of yards of sandbars at low tide along the Dennis-area Mayflower Beach, renting a powerboat and captaining our four-hour trip (I never drove a boat before), kayaking across Oyster Beach River, playing a late-night round of mini-golf, and biking 17 miles up and down the Rail Trail (I lugged my daughter in an attachment known as a trailer) – plus many beautiful beaches – I felt deep satisfaction in knowing the independent bookstore is alive and well.

Town after town we saw local bookstores with shelves stuffed with books.  These stores were pure – no toys, DVDs or music.  No cafes.  No distractions.  Just wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling paper.  Book-lovers feel a warm sensation when they come across such sights.

Some of these towns can be small in land mass and in population, but many have not just one but two bookstores.  It’s great to walk along Main Street in Chatham or Commercial Street in PTown or along the local streets of Orleans and see bookstores doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Each store feels secure and well established, as if anchoring these old towns for generations.  Wooden floors and wooden shelves make you feel at home.  The smell of knowledge, discovery and imagination is in the air.  Often the store is staffed not by people who could easily be working at the GAP, McDonald’s or Target, but mature adults with roots in books and the community.  Most often it’s the owner at the cash register.

Wisely, the stores don’t sell everything, not even all the best-sellers.  They highlight local authors, books of local interest, and books that reflect not just what people think what they want, but what they truly will value.

We supported the local bookstore and purchased several books.  Sure they’d be cheaper in a B&N superstore or a Wal-Mart-type bookstore or online at Amazon.  But the price of admission to keep our community bookstores is to pay full freight at such stores.  You get your book giftwrapped with the love of the book world.

It was also nice to see big, old libraries located prominently in the center of several of the towns we walked or drove through.  It may not seem like paper and water go together, but on a water-filled trip, I’m left thinking positively about the paper books in brick-and-mortar stores at the heart of a beautiful area.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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