Here in the lovely little corner of the world that we like to call the Puget Sound region, we’re preparing for Snowpocmageddon 2012. The forecasters are predicting snow, my Facebook friends are all posting “Snow!” or “Snow’s on the ground!”, and my boss sent out a friendly reminder email that even if it does snow, the office won’t close.
Employee benefits don’t wait for anyone.
For my own method of preparation, I took a short walk down to my local Barnes and Noble and spent, oh, an hour, just wandering through the stacks. An hour. I didn’t have any specific books in mind that I wanted to buy, I just picked up books that caught my fancy, read the back cover, put them back or kept them, then moved on down the aisle. It.Was.Glorious.
Never mind that I have seven library books waiting to be read, including Battle Royale and The Secret in Their Eyes (the basis for the Academy Award winning movie of the same name). Or the probably twenty or so books on my shelves unread. No, I came away with five new books. Five. Who knows when I’ll have time to read them, but the point is, I have them.
I love books. I love having books. I love the library, and its absurdly huge database full of books, that I can place on hold and then have sent to the branch closest to me. And if there was one store where I could happily, giddily, max out my credit card, it would be Powell’s City of Books (in Portland, if you’ve never heard of it. If you haven’t, that’s a crying shame.)
When I went to cash out, the cashier told me all about the membership, which I’ve heard about before, and I’ve been resisting. See, while I love books, and bookstores, I’m not all that fond of chains. Weird, considering I just dropped $60 at the last remaining chain bookstore, but hey. I’d probably have dropped more if it had been an indie bookstore.
I did something really stupid the other day. I’d promised the BF that once I finished the book I was working on (Finders Keepers), I’d stop, and maybe get started on editing something I’d already written. Well, I finished Keepers, and then later that same day, I promptly started writing a new story. I couldn’t help myself; I found part of an old story I’d started years ago and after having looked over Entangled Publishing’s submissions call, I thought I could craft something around it that would fit. So far, I’ve got three chapters done and bits and pieces of the rest of the story.
The reason I bring this up is the main character owns a bookstore in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood. She’s just found out that a giant chain is out to buy the building she rents and push her out of business, all so they can capitalize on her revenue stream.
Now, I don’t have anything against chains, per se. The booksellers at my local B & N are always friendly and knowledgeable (especially the guy who took my frantic phone call on Christmas Eve) but I miss the quirks of indie bookstores. Have you ever noticed that used bookstores seem to have a surplus of sci-fi and fantasy novels, usually of the Star Wars persuasion? And they have a very distinct smell.
With the proliferation of giant stores, they’re pushing the little guys out of business. Which sucks, if that’s your idea of the American Dream. I can take some comfort that the institutions, like the Strand, City Lights, Powell’s, Elliott Bay Book Company, none of those will go down without a fight and a huge outcry from the public. But I feel like soon, all we’ll have is B & N, the Gap, and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, is, of course, devil spawn.
One of these days, I’ll most likely break down and get the B & N membership. But today is not that day.
*image via litminds.org