As a child, before I had disposable income of my own, I got all my books from the local library. It was wonderful to be able to stop by any day and take out a number of books to read. The one drawback? I had to return them. I really wanted to keep them, too, but couldn't.
Flash forward to the time when I began making my own money and could spend it on things I wanted. Did I purchase fabulous clothes? Travel to exotic locations? Drive a luxury car?
Nope. I bought books. Hardbacks, paperbacks, new and used. Books were my binge purchase, my addiction.
When I lived in a big city I purchased all my books from Borders, or Barnes and Noble.
Then I moved to a small town. No more Borders. No more B&N. Just one, small bookstore that I feared would never carry the kinds of books I liked to read and own.
I happen to be lucky enough to live in a town that has its own independent, locally run, owned, and operated, bookstore, THE TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP. Cute name, no? Heehee
This little bookstore - and I only say that because it's not the 40,000 square feet of a Borders or B&N - carries every imaginable book and many more I could never have foreseen or thought about. If I come to them after hearing about the newest-you-have-to-read-this-today book, and they don't have it in stock, they order it and have it for me lickity split. I tried having Borders order me a book, once. Once is the definitive word in that last sentence. Suffice it to say, I never asked again.
Independent bookstores are, at their heart, community based. Many times they are a gathering place for the locals in the area. They support writing groups of all genres, even offer their space to monthly writing groups. They promote local authors and are always looking for ways to garner more sales for their local writers. Indie Bookstores can truly be seen as one of the first purveyors of SHOP LOCAL. They are able to provide jobs for their community and thereby give back to the community - and they do give back in so many ways, something big box bookstores and Amazon do not. Story times for children, teen nights to get young adults interested and engaged in reading, summer reading programs for children and adults of all ages. All these programs are organized and provided by indie bookstores. When was the last time you saw Amazon read a story to a bunch of kids? Yeah...I didn't think so.
For me, personally, THE TOADSTOOL has been instrumental in getting my name out into the world of romance readers in my area by organizing book signings when I have a new release, or promoting and sponsoring Meet the Authors nights for genre groupings such as romance, mystery, Sci-Fi. The support - professionally, individually and even for me, emotionally, of my Independent bookstore is profound. My store even has a shelf devoted just to....me.
Now I could tell you all the ways indie bookstores have suffered since Amazon showed up. Initially, some closed, then more, and more until finally there was a worry we would never have anything but Borders-type stores. When that chain went the way of the dinosaur - again because of Amazon - it was a turning point for indies. People began to see their indie bookstores as the Davey to Amazon's Goliath and gathered around the underdog. Today, despite Amazon's hold, Indie bookstores are thriving.
They may be taking a bit of a beating during the pandemic, but I am certain that once we are no longer quarantined as a society, Indie bookstores will one of the first gathering places we see filled with people.
If you are lucky enough to have an indie bookstore in your town, please - if you don't already support it - do so now. The benefits of shopping local and supporting a business that provides so much for your community, is profound.
Celebrate Independent Bookstores. It's a good thing.
*** I'm editing this to take an idea from Judith and run with it: PLEASE everyone who reads this, put up a link to your favorite Indie bookstore, whether it be in your town, or just one you shop at close by!! Let's flood the blogging world with out favorite book shops!
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
Social Media links:
Amazon Author Page:
Authors database: https://authorsdb.com/community/15814-peggy-jaeger
Releasing 5.20.2020 VANILLA WITH A TWIST a One Scoop or Two summer romance from The Wild Rose Press
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop's machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn't had a day off in a decade and wonders if she'll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher's Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy's shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?