Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Topic of the Day -- The Death of Bookstores?

Bookstores are dying off--a bitter pill for readers, bookstore owners and writers to swallow. Why aren't we gathering together in protest, carrying our signs and demanding that someone save our our beloved stores?

Okay . . . protests may be a bit much, but we aren't helpless. We don't have to allow the stores to fail and drop by the wayside. We do have power. It's time to stand up to the bookstore slayers like Amazon and say, "Enough is enough."

Here in my town, we've already lost our bookstores. It's hard to believe.

Have you envisioned a world without bookstores? Will our only local choices be Walmart or Fred Meyer? That would be ugly -- best sellers only and almost no Christian fiction.

What can we do? First take a look at Ann Patchett. She did something. You can read her story at

Hooray for Ann! And there are others of you out there who are able to follow in her footsteps. Please don't wait. We need independent bookstores. The world just won't be the same without them.

If you're in the market and are managing a successful bookstore teach others how to do it. If you're struggling reach out for help, study the market, work smart and get creative. If you do "Readears will come".

And readers, we must band together. Buy books at your local stores. Remember how it used to be--a friendly local merchant chatted with you and often recommended just the right book, we used to get together with other readers and compare best reads, aisles filled with books, the smell of ink. Buying a book with the click of a button is easier but at what cost? Think about it before you click again.

I'm not anti kindle. After all, as a writer I make money off ebook sales. And I sometimes purchase books online, usually used books that I need for research, but I do shop online from time to time. Maybe there's room for both the hometown store and the online store. I'm just asking that you remember your local stores and don't turn your back on them. The owners work hard, they've made a huge investment of time, money and heart. And I have trouble with mega stores that have too much power and too much control over what we read. And personal? I don't think so.

Give it some thought. Here in my town we miss our local stores. The nearest full service bookstore is now ninety miles from my home. Such a sad outcome for me and other local readers. Ninety miles is a long drive to buy a book.

Grace and peace to you from God.



  1. I'm soooooo with you on this one. We have a wonderful independent Christian bookstore in town and I use it for all my personal book purchases. (I do order giveaways online because it's easier and the postage is cheaper to the states.) I work at two school libraries and I try to use independent bookstores when I buy books for them as well. I think that's the key -- readers have to make the effort to support the retailers or they will continue to close. Perish the thought!

  2. I pray for success for your local store. I was in Seattle over the weekend and found myself in a giant Walmart where I bought all my grandkids Christmas books. I buy them each a book at Christmas. Hated to do it, but since we don't have a local store . . .

    Crum! Still, I think they'll like the books.

  3. This was sent to me by a friend who has worked in a bookstore for many years. With her permission I am including it here.

    Opened 40 years ago. Same family owned all this time. Please let readers know how important these "mom and pop" stores are. I think about Evangel not being there. The ministry that has taken place, souls prayed over, family situations held up in prayer, engagements placed on the throne, people coming in simply to get a "hug." Tell them how important the front liners are to getting out important resources, i.e. church history resources, fiction that can bring a reader to Christ through the art of storytelling, gift books that are taken to hospitals and
    assisted care facilities, or for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries. Passionate people who are serious about getting the right resource in the customers hand. Front liners
    who are passionate about getting the word out when a new title comes on board, sharing benign tidbits about the authors, prompting readers to shoot off emails to authors who sit in front of a blank screen and need encouragement. Getting information to troubled parents via a local radio program or turning them on to important websites such as Ken Ham's Answers In Genesis, or David Barton's Wallbuilders; Focus on the Family, information about the local community or Bible college. The list
    goes on and on. People don't know what a resource they are losing by not supporting their local or family owned business. It's the people who live and work locally in
    these "mom and pop" stores that have been the pillars of our communities. Corporate America has no vision for the hearts that built community.

    Boy could I go on.
    Please pray for us. We're all heartbroken and perplexed as we wonder where we're going to find employment. I, for one, can't imagine leaving the book store. It's been a privilege doing all the above and more.
    Many thanks, dj

  4. DJ, I am one of those authors you helped. Thank you.

    And I'm a Christian you took time to introduce exceptional books and videos to that changed my life and other people's lives.

    Thank you so much for all you and your co-workers have done for the Kingdom. God knows.

    Grace and peace to you.