Saturday, November 12, 2011

Local Independent Bookstores

Many of us book lovers dream of owning and running our own little bookstore.  Who can watch the sweet, old movie, You're Got Mail, without falling in love with Meg Ryan's little bookstore around the corner from the chain store giant.  Of course, like in reality, the little independent family store loses the financial battle and has to close.   Also in the real world, we've experienced the loss of the Borders chain store, proving it's tough even for the giants.

I first discovered New Concepts Publishing at my local Borders.  At that time, places like Borders and B&N carried books from independent publishers like NCP and others.  I bought a few NCP books and decided I wanted these professionals to take a look at my manuscript.  A great relationship was built from that.  But it wasn't long until the 'big' stores stopped carrying books from independent publishers and I could only order my print books online.  That was until I discovered a couple of terrific independent bookstores.

This small, locally owned bookstores not only have better coffeeshops than the big guys, they're wonderfully open to supporting their local authors.  My local store, The Midtown Scholar, has invited me back for their second annual Book Festival in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I'll be part of a panel discussing the path to publishing.

The topics I'll cover will include the importance of networking, attending writers' conferences, joining critique groups and perseverance despite all the likely rejections to come.  And of course, I'll get a chance to promote my own books.  The store is equipped with WiFi so hopefully some of those readers attending will buy my books right then and there.

I'm not a seer, but I believe the future of bookstores may see only the friendly independents as the survivors of the changes going on as more and more readers switch to ebooks. I intend to support all the small stores near me as much as I can as they have supported me as an author and welcomed me as a reader. Do you have a great, little store near you?

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