I buy books everywhere -- in the chains, department stores, online -- but ever since I discovered an independent bookstore in my area a few years ago -- Read Between the Lynes -- I have made a more conscious effort to give them my money, which when it comes to books is not an insignificant amount. Their prices are more expensive than other retailers (though as a member of their loyalty club one receives a discount) but as I've become a frequent customer I am on a first-name basis with the owner I feel truly appreciated when I make a purchase (you just don't get that at the Big Stores).
So it was disheartening to receive a letter in the mail yesterday from the owner of the store describing the difficulties the store is going through and how close they seem to closing their doors. Along with details of the changes the store will be making it also includes a request for loyal customers to make a pledge to spend an additional $35 per month at the store over the next 60 days.
I want to do this -- I mean, I spend a lot at the store already (my last two visits to the store resulted in purchases of over $50 each), and asking me to spend more on books is a bit of a no-brainer. But I am only one person, and my extra $35 is not going to mean anything if other loyal customers don't step up and if avid readers in the area do not also patronize the store. I appreciate that times are tight and saving money is important to all of us, but the personal service provided to customers and the service to the community is something at which indies excel, and I believe that is worth the price.
Wherever you live -- please support your local independent bookstore.