From author April L. Hamilton:
Dear Indie Booksellers:
Whether your operation is brick and mortar, strictly online, or a combo plate of both, you have an important role to fill in the communities you serve. It makes me sad to see shop after shop shuttered, and I miss the ones I used to frequent. So please, know that as both an author and a consumer, I want you to not only survive, but to thrive.
But many of you, those whose daily operational thoughts and actions are totally dominated by fear of being driven out of business by Amazon and the few big chains that are still in operation, need some tough love. As you read this, bear that thought in mind: I’m tough because I love.
. . . .
Please stop obsessing about, and badmouthing, Amazon and the chains. It’s no more attractive to retail customers than attack ads are to voters.
Please stop badmouthing consumers who shop at Amazon and the chains. Most consumers will buy some things from Amazon and the chains, and other things from smaller outfits. There’s no better way to ensure they’ll start buying everything from Amazon and the chains than to insult them.
Please stop trying to base your marketing and community outreach plans on guilting the public into believing their Amazon and chain purchases are leading to the destruction of reading culture as we know it. Nobody wants to be bullied or guilted into a purchase, consumers know they have a right to make the best choice for themselves based on their specific priorities, and they hold that right pretty dear.
. . . .
Please do not argue that you can order any of the same books one can find on Amazon or through the big chains, because we live in an age of pathological convenience and instant gratification. Most consumers who have already made the trek to the store are annoyed if they must leave empty-handed. Now granted, it’s not like in pioneer days when Pa would take the wagon into town for supplies on a weeklong trip that could very well end in death on the way there or back. But consumer expectations and demands have changed.
. . . .
Do, and offer, what the 400-pound gorillas can’t: passion and specialized knowledge not only of the products you carry, but the communities you serve. I’ve noticed that most of the successful, healthy indie retailers in any community I’ve ever called home have one thing in common: they specialize, and whatever it is they specialize in, everyone from the store owner right down to the stock boy is an absolute geek about it.
Link to the rest at Indie Author and thanks to Big Al for the tip.
The post includes descriptions of several indie bookstores that April loves.