I ran across an interesting article the other day by an independent bookseller, who (to oversimplify her argument a bit) bemoans the tendency for authors to focus on Amazon to the exclusion of independent bookstores. "Let's face it," she says, "Amazon may discount, but they're not going to herald your latest book with a wine and cheese party or a dumpling dinner, or handsell your book to someone looking for book group suggestions. No one is going do more for your book than your local store that has a good relationship with you and your book. So, you need to help us by getting your fans to buy the book either at your local independent or at indiebound.com."
Now I'm fully aware of the importance of the local independent; I've already scheduled two readings at independent bookstores, with more to come, and I'm happy to support them whenever I can. (And I'm adding a link to Indiebound post haste, by the way. :) ) But I'm more curious about book buying habits in general; when I was a kid, I got most of my books from a store called Paperback Booksmith, which was part of a chain, largely because there weren't any other options around...except a used bookstore, the stock of which was obviously erratic. (And now that I have to consider royalties myself, I have more mixed feelings about that whole "buying used" thing... :) ) But that was pre-Internet, of course--now things have changed radically, and obviously brick and mortar stores are feeling the pinch in more ways than one. So where do you buy your books now? Amazon? The closest bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Borders, or something else? Or do you go out of your way to support the indies? Let me know...and in the meantime, I'll keep all my options open by linking independently and otherwise. And if anyone out there wants to host a reading with a dumpling dinner for my books, I'll sign on the dotted line right now...
Causes Gregory Wilson Supports
National Resource Defense Council
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Breast Cancer Research