An Authorial Bookstore
You may have seen the piece in Publishers Weekly. Judy Blume, Bookseller, it was called. When I saw the title I just assumed it was just about one of those events when authors go into bookstores and take over for the employees for a day. Instead, what I found was that Ms. Blume opened up an independent bookstore with her husband as recently as two months ago and she helps run it regularly.*
Ms. Blume is hardly the first author to go into the bookstore business. Just off the top of my head I can come up with bookstores owned or started by Louise Erdrich, Ann Patchett, and Jeff Kinney. In fact, I was at an author dinner a little less than a year ago and the booksellers there were talking about Kinney’s store. Some had applied to work there, but hadn’t gotten the job. It was apparently the place to be.
It’s interesting to look at the state of the independent bookstore today. For the first time in years they’re doing well. In 2015 alone, 61 ABA (American Bookseller Association) stores opened up with 16 sold to new owners. Used bookstores are making a comeback. Even evil Amazon is trying to open up physical locations, in the wake of the death of Borders.
That said, there is room for more. There is ALWAYS room for more. So it gets me to thinking. What if every ridiculously successful author opened a bookstore too? James Patterson, I would argue, already does a great deal of literary good. Still, shouldn’t he have a bookstore? Where is Carl Hiaasen’s in Florida? Sherman Alexie’s in Seattle? Why doesn’t J.K. Rowling have one in Scotland or Stephanie Meyer in Forks, Washington?
The world needs more independent bookstores. Obviously these authors (some of them anyway) want to be writing. Well, who’s to say you can’t delegate? So come on, ridiculously successful writers! Take that cash you made and pour it back into the community. And carry good scones. I love a good scone.
By the way, don’t forget that Saturday, April 30th is Independent Bookstore Day. Let’s all go out there and give these folks great gobs of money, hand over fist.
*If you read the piece in PW, please identify the book she is hand-selling for two points.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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