I belong to the New England Children’s Bookselling Advisory Council and we’ve got a pretty active listserv. Last week the thrust of everyone’s emails was how to keep shopping local during the holiday season. I know that spending is a challenge for everyone during the holidays and customers are always looking for ways to save, and it’s no secret that a local independent bookstore cannot compete with Sam’s Club, Costco or Walmart on prices for certain books.
One bookseller, Ellen Richmond from Children’s Book Cellar, Waterville, Maine, had a customer say, rather loudly when she realized that the latest Wimpy Kid cost $13.95 (its list price),” I can get it at X for $6.99.” Well, yes you can, but what the customer didn’t realize was X doesn’t actually do anything for the community. So, Ellen struck back with a poster that graces her front door. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Folks often forget just how much their local store (book or otherwise) does in their community, and a poster like this is a gentle reminder to all who enter just how entrenched the store is in their town. Every bookstore is fighting for book sales and the competition is fierce. Anything we can do to help remind folks that we’ll always give your dog a biscuit, donate to the Little League and bring authors to your schools can only help our cause.
So, keep it local and keep all the independents vital parts of your town.