Friday, May 29, 2020

Why We Need Our Independent Bookstores Now!

Stores waste tons of CO2 a day by blasting A/C with the doors open ...

The book universe stretched far and wide before the corona shutdown. You could buy a book in so many places — from chain bookstores, gift shops, and church basements to backyard sales, indie bookstores, online, and elsewhere. But after several months of living in isolation, the only places I could find printed books in person is at the supermarket and big box stores like Walmart and Target. How disappointing.

Over Memorial Day Weekend I made it to a Target and a Walmart for the first time since corona entered our lexicon. They fell far short of providing me the satisfaction I would normally get when being in the same room as books. The sorely lacking experience serves as a strong reminder of why we need a diverse, independent, widespread book universe.

It was not all that long ago that I used to partake in my favorite activity – to just browse wantonly at a bookstore, guided by nothing but my curiosity and love of books. Now that seems like a faded memory, a luxury that I am no longer afforded.  Though we mourn the ability to connect in person with people the way we used to, we also feel quarantined from the books we love touch, smell, and flip through.

Target and Walmart offer such a tiny fraction of all the books that bookstores sell. These huge stores offer just a few shelves to my beloved books. It was a tease to see books on display but then, upon further inspection, to find only a handful of works, mainly from bestselling authors, for sale. They didn’t separate books by genre because the only genre they had was commercial books. Too bad. I would give anything to be able to put my hands all over a new book, one that awaits me in a bookstore.

We need our independent bookstore back. The local store knows us and meets our reading needs. It is there to make sure the community comes to gather to celebrate ideas, events, and imaginations.

I know when stores re-open, things won’t be the same for the next year or so. We will see limits imposed on how many people can be in a store, where customers can congregate, or how we can interact with each other. Gone will be the days when you could just rummage through books, read all that you want, and not buy a thing. Gone will be the days of just hanging at a bookstore, reading a book over a cup of coffee, and scanning the shelves for your next purchase. 

Corona has  ushered in a new era, one of inconvenience, fear, product shortages, inflation, Zoom, and trikinis – and a starved book world.

We have to work around corona to enjoy what we have always enjoyed: books. 

The times change and challenges will arise but we must persevere, overcome, and be resilient. We need bookstores more than ever, and soon we will get a reminder of what used to be – and insights on what could be again.

I can’t wait.

Please See These Related Posts

It Is Essential For The Book World To Re-Open

We Shall Defeat The Coronavirus Epidemic

How Authors Must Promote Books During A Plague

A Book Marketing Pandemic Playbook

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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