- Have you ever wanted to go where everyone knows your name? Sounds a little like the old sitcom Cheers (I’m dating myself a little, I know) but by going regularly to a small shop you could very well establish a relationship with the workers or even owner to the point you are on a first name basis.
- Need a good book recommendation? You can ask family and friends, but it is also nice to ask someone who works with books all day. The big box stores may have the “employees picks” section, but those are just some books displayed on an end-cap. By being able to really talk to your local independent bookseller, you can get truly personal recommendations based on the specific subject you are looking for or even your taste. It’s all about better service.
- By shopping locally you keep your dollars more local, helping to pump up the local economy. Even if your local bookstore does not have a specific title in stock, they probably can order it. Instead of ordering that paperback from Amazon, try the bookstore first.
- Many independent bookstores will feature independent titles. Despite what big publishers and the two big bookstores will try to tell you, many quality books on the market are independent. Independent many times means the books will not be so formulaic, or will present viewpoints or opinions you won’t be able to find in the books put out by big publishers. Also, many of the independent books are written by local authors, meaning you are keeping your dollars local.
- Most independent bookstores have a good idea what appeals to the specific culture of the area. They also hold community events including live concerts, book clubs, writing workshops and more. Instead of clicking with your mouse to order your books, you can go to an independent bookstore and be connected to the community.
The truth is, if we neglect the independent shops in our community for much longer for the sake of a few cents at Walmart, the days of local coffeeshops, bookstores, and grocery stores dotted throughout city streets will be long gone.
Food for thought: when was the last time you saw an independent video store? Years, right? Walmart seriously sucks.