williamallenpepper

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Archive for the tag “saving bookstores”

HANDS-ON BOOKSTORE SAVING

So I read this piece from a link on Twitter recently. For those of you who can’t tear yourself away from the fine edu-info-excellento-entertainment this blog offers, here’s a summary:

Bill “Mr. B” Wiley, owner and proprietor of Mr. B’s Bookery in Kingston, Washington, was having health issues and was going to have to close the shop. In walks writer Danya Simkus who offers to help.

Next thing you know, she’s a coowner with her fiancee and Wiley’s son.

On one hand, this is an example of someone stepping up to save a dying institution – the local, independent bookstore. On the other hand, it’s an example of the ultimate author’s fantasy. Well, other than sitting around all day in your underwear making up stories. The OTHER fantasy is owning a bookstore.

And Danya Simkus did it.

I like both aspects of the story. Somehow the institutions we treasure most manage to go on even in the midst of dire predictions of their extinction. Indie bookstores, hell, even print books, are supposed to be dead. Here’s an example of why that isn’t gonna happen without a fight.

Also, how cool is it to spend ALL DAY talking about BOOKS, thumbing through them, touching them, drooling on them, whispering sweet nothings into…

What was I saying?

Oh, right. Yay, Mr. B’s!

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THE FUTURE OF BOOKSTORES REVISITED

I write a lot about why bookstores are dying and what in my humble opinion (shut up – I’m the most humble person ever) they could be doing differently to change the downward spiral they’re caught in.

So here I am writing about it again.

In Santa Barbara, CA, in June, Granada Books will open its doors. No ordinary bookstore is this. Rather, it’s a weird new creature. Not entirely non-profit community center. Not entirely a for-profit bookstore. It will be both.

“Hey! You got chocolate in my peanut butter!”

“And you got peanut butter in my chocolate!”

And they called it a bookstore.

Is this the new wave? The new trend? The future of book selling?

I dunno.

Granada Books hopes the same people who browse bookstores, then buy online for less, will be willing to instead spend their money in the brick and mortar location to help support the community center, which in turn will feature readings, book fairs, yoga classes and other stuff. Their inventory is mostly donated and about half-and-half new books and used or rare books. The hope is to eventually turn the whole thing non-profit and focus on public education and literacy.

And selling books.

That you can pick up and thumb through first.

Right there in your local community.

Sounds pretty nice.

No fancy bells and whistles. No eight dollar cups of coffee. Just books and doing a little something to shop local. Granada Books is offering something online retailers can’t: your neighbors. The people you live and work with every day.

It’s the future. Leap into it.

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