Thursday, December 28, 2006
Three Cheers for the New Indie!
There has been a lot written lately about independent book stores closing. Gary Phillips commented about the closing of Dutton's in Beverly Hills in the Yahoo Group for the So Cal Chapter of MWA and Keith Raffel has been commenting on various closings, including Murder Ink in New York and Bob and Bob in Palo Alto, in his blog. And these two are not alone in their grief. Among writers the buzz about these closings is a lot like whisperings between family members about who has cancer or who had a stroke, who's expected to live, and who is not.
As professional writers, we certainly cannot overlook the value to our careers of the chains and online booksellers such as Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble, but the independents are "family" in a way these large retailers can never be. As individuals and as professionals, writers should care a great deal about independent book sellers. These are the folks who hand-sell our books to their loyal customers and who welcome us with warmth and genuine interest when we visit. I receive a lot of mystery books for free, but when I purchase one, it is from The Mystery Book Store in Westwood or from Linda Bivens of Crime Time Books. (Linda is semi-retired and closed her store, but continues to sell books at special events and book festivals.)
But take heart, amongst all these closings there is a daffodil pushing up through the snow. Just two weeks ago Metropolis Books, a new independent, opened its doors in downtown Los Angeles. Owned and operated by the delightful Julie Anne Swayze (herself an author) and her husband Steve Bowie, Metropolis Books brings hope that the day of the independent bookseller has not passed.
So, the next time you are in downtown Los Angeles (or why not even go out of your way) visit Julie at Metropolis and give her a good pat of encouragement on the back … and while you're there, buy a book, or two, or three.
440 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013