Category Archives: Bookstores We Love

Is Occupying the Answer?

I read a post this morning called “Occupy Amazon” the bibliopirate Blog. This has become a huge issue in the book industry. Amazon vs. world. Really? If you’ve read any of my posts you know I’m an Amazon.com advocate. Before you go getting your knickers all twisted up at me, save your rotten fruit, I’m not going to change my mind. At least not until they screw me. Why do I like Amazon so much you might ask?

1. I sell books there–and lots of them. Literally 10 to 1 compared to brick and mortar stores. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to sell books in bookstores, but stores simply don’t want to sell our books. There are many reasons they offer, but bottom line is bookstores aren’t willing to take the risk on a small business, even though many of the stores are small businesses themselves.

2. Convenience. I’m not a fan of traffic, actually I’m a bit of a road rage driver, anyone who’s been in a car with me can attest to that. Stupid drivers just piss me off. So, it’s easier if I just shop from my computer. No one gets hurt, and my blood pressure stays within a manageable range.

3. Selection. I can find 100 times more stuff to buy from Amazon than I can from any bookstore. My experience with bookstores is that they favor the big publishers and best sellers. That’s great, if that’s what keeps them in business then that’s what they should sell. But it doesn’t work for me. I prefer new authors, lots of series, and have a fondness for indie publishers. I find very few of those in bookstores.

I read post after post and hear comment after comment about how Amazon is killing the brick and mortar stores. I simply don’t believe this. I think the stores could actually compete more effectively if they gave more consideration to what their customers want and less to what they think will sell. Customer service is the key element to any successful business. No one is willing to pay higher prices and be treated badly. I know I’m not.

I’ll pay a higher price if the store clerks actually acknowledged me, offered me any assistance, and knew what they hell they were doing. This has not been the case in the last ten stores (of any kind) I have been in. Especially bookstores.

I just don’t see Amazon as the villain everyone makes them out to be. They are a business, like any other, and they are in the business to make money. That is why we all go into business, right? I posted a comment somewhere about this and I clearly stated that consumers have a choice. No one is forcing anyone to go to Amazon.

As for bibiopirate’s situation. It’s sad when people go into stores, especially bookstores, and forget about common courtesy. Looking for a book? If you can shop on Amazon then you should be smart enough to know how to look up the info you seek on the web. Don’t be an asshat and go to a local store, make them do all the legwork (that makes you lazy), and then deprive them of the sale. That is just pissy and there is a special place in hell for people like you.

Show some decency. If you have the time and the inclination to actually go into a store, then give them your business. They have earned it, simply by being there for you.

bibliopirate doesn’t really call for a boycott of Amazon, though others have. That’s not the answer. Amazon has as much right to fight for the consumer ‘s business than any store or whatever. What happens in the retail world is 100% dependant on the consumer. It is YOU who makes the choice where you spend your money. If Amazon is the king of retailers it’s because consumers have made it so. You want your local stores to thrive, then get off your duff, get out of your house, and go spend your money there.

But for cripes sake, remember, your local store is not an information booth on your way to online shopping. It’s a place where people just like  you go to earn a living and support their families. Show some respect!

You can also do your favorite stores a favor by promoting them. In fact, why don’t you post your favorite local store in the comment section of this post. No big box stores, just hometown businesses that deserve some exposure and some business.

Tell us about your…

Favorite local business:

Address:

Web site:

Why you like them:

Same Feeling of Being Right at Home (Bookstore Spotlight by Carolyn J. Rose)

Readers and writers in and around Cover to Cover Books in Vancouver, Washington, are so fond of the store that many of them pitched in to help owner Mel Sanders unpack, reshelve, and alphabetize 450 boxes of books rescued from a fire in the fall of 2010.

They turned out to pay back favors given. Over the years Mel has gone the extra mile to support area authors, providing a venue for the Vancouver Writers Mixers and the Ghost Town Poetry Open Microphone evenings.

 They turned out because so many small businesses—and so many bookstores—are closing and they wanted to insure that Cover to Cover would have a good start in its post-fire location. (6300 NE Saint James Road, Suite 104B, Vancouver, WA, 98663)

They turned out in solidarity because Mel is also a writer. She’s been published in Under the Rose, a Norilana Books anthology of the fantastic, and in various e-books.

They turned out because Mel brews up some terrific espresso, because Smedley the bookstore cat loves company, and because Cover to Cover has comfortable chairs, and a cheerful ambiance, even on cold and rainy days.

Finally, they turned out because it was another opportunity to get together and talk about books, to browse through books, to breathe in the scent of books.

Cover to Cover has about 20,000 books—new and used—on the shelves. Every time I visit I find books I haven’t seen before—books Mel bought at estate sales, books brought in by book scouts, books taken in trade from customers. Every time I visit, no matter how high my to-be-read pile, I buy books.

Mel displays books by area authors, including all nine of mine. She also provides opportunities for writers to discuss writing craft and launch their latest projects. I plan to be there soon with copies of my tenth work, a suspense novel called An Uncertain Refuge, and the eleventh, a love story set in 1966 called A Place of Forgetting, and due out this fall.

Website: www.covertocoverbooks.net

Twitter: www.twitter.com/C2Cbooks

Phone: 360-993-7777

E-mail: mail@covertocoverbooks.net

Carolyn J. Rose is the author of ten novels. She grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, and her hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking. Surf to www.deadlyduomysteries.com to learn more.

 

The Test of Time (Bookstore spotlight by Nancy Lynn Jarvis)

I live in Santa Cruz, a small county with arguably the greatest per-capita number of independent bookstores in California. We take our indies seriously here, so seriously we have no chain bookstores in the county.

The brightest jewel of all our indies is Bookshop Santa Cruz. Bookshop, as it is affectionately known by locals, opened in 1966. It stayed open after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 destroyed its brick and mortar building by operating out of a gigantic tent while rebuilding. Bookshop thrived even after Borders opened a death-star of a store a block away. In the economic downturn, Bookshop Santa Cruz innovated; Borders closed last year. There are over twenty full time employees working for Bookshop and the store hosts over a dozen active book clubs. “Let’s meet at Bookshop,” is an often heard refrain throughout Santa Cruz County.

Big names like Jonathan Franzen, Amy and David Sedaris, and Jane Fonda have had book signings sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. If the name is really big, Bookshop rents the civic auditorium for them–crowds over a thousand strong don’t fit into Bookshop Santa Cruz.

I’ve always been a fan of Bookshop Santa Cruz so you can imagine how excited I am that I’ll be introducing my latest book, The Widow’s Walk League on July 26th at their Local Authors Night. Giving local writers a chance to interact with their community in another of the things Bookshop Santa Cruz is known for doing right.

Website: http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BookshopSantaCruz

Twitter: @BookshopSC

Nancy Lynn Jarvis has been a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years. She owns a real estate company with her husband, Craig. 

After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager of Shakespeare/Santa Cruz. 

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is her newest adventure. 

She invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. Details and ideas come from Nancy’s own experiences.