This holiday season is making me reminisce for the good ol’ days when I would drive up the street to a small, independently-owned, local bookstore to look for holiday gifts! I remember walking into the small establishment and being greeted by a person that was committed to helping me find the right book for the occasion. Most of the time they were helpful and right on with their recommendations. I could usually be persuaded to pick out something for myself, that I would never have picked on my own. I would spend forever gawking at their selection of books and displays. I MISS THOSE DAYS!
It really doesn’t feel like that long ago. First, we supported the local bookstores, and eventually most of them disappeared. Then, we supported whatever bookstores were around, and THEN THEY STARTED TO DISAPPEAR! Our local toy store (OMG-That better not disappear!) has a selection of children’s books. It is a very good option to have and I use it often, but it isn’t the same.
Currently, our family has to drive at least thirty minutes to get to the closest Barnes and Nobles. We went out there a couple of weeks ago and it wasn’t a good experience. The store wasn’t kept up well and it was very hard to find anyone to help you, even at the help desk. The store definitely lacked the charm and personal attention that our old neighborhood store possessed.
I remember how our old neighborhood bookstore would have all kinds of different events for adults and kids. They would celebrate book themes and authors, have parties for new books being published and so much more. Barnes and Nobles does offer a weekly, free, story-time that sometimes includes a snack and/or a craft, which is nice, but again, not the same.
“You don’t know what you got ’till it’s gone” could not be more true in this case. If I had known that all of the independent bookstores around us were going to disappear one day, I would have visited them much more often. I feel like I took them for granted! I would have taken in all of the sights and smells (yeah, smells) of the books and appreciated them SO much more than I did.
Now, when my husband and I go on vacation, at least once a decade, we always check out the local bookstores. Each one has it’s own personality and characteristics. We almost always try to do something to support the store in some way, which usually means we purchase a book. We have to! It’s our responsibility as readers to support the local shops that we have left or they will all become extinct.
- Here is a link to some information on the industry and the struggles that it faces. The statistics don’t seem too grim, for now. It also has information on opening up your own bookstore.
- IndieBound is a web site where you can search for local bookstores. What a great tool! I found the nearest bookstore is 20 miles away. I am going to go! I had never heard of it before.
- Here is the link to IndieBound where you can find your closest bookstore.