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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Independent Bookseller - Reasons to Love Them

I remember several years ago when I'd asked my husband for a dictionary for Christmas. A real, 30-pound dictionary that could also be used to hold down papers on my desk when the windows were open. He went to one of the major U.S. booksellers and asked the sales clerk for an unabridged dictionary. She looked confused and typed it into her computer. "We don't have that," she said. "How can you not have a dictionary?" he asked. My husband looked over her shoulder at the computer screen where the clerk had typed in "on a bridge dictionary". This is when we realized we needed to stick with our local independent booksellers.

Whenever we visit our local bookstore, we can ask questions much more complicated than "Do you have a dictionary?" and we get an informed answer. The magazine shelves are filled with hard-to-find publications, and the bookshelves house much more than the usual mass market selections. We can still get a great cup of coffee, and if we want to hear a bluegrass band on a Friday night or learn Italian on Thursdays, that's available too. And the staff is working there not just to cover the rising cost of beer and tuition, but because they love books, they're obsessed with books, and they want to share their love and obsession with the community.

There are numerous reasons to support your local bookseller. During the holiday season find yours, go hang out, ask lots of questions. That's what these people live for - they want to talk about books as much as you do, and I'll bet you won't find a single one that will send you looking for a dictionary on a bridge.


Marie said...

Where can I find a small bookseller? Online sales have taken over and we are losing that personal touch.

Diane said...

One great way to find an indie bookseller is to try They help you find them all over the country, and you can even order online if you can't make it into the store. Happy shopping!

Karen said...

We have Powells here in Portland which is a locally owned bookstore. Their Portland store also boasts of being the largest bookstore on the west coast. It is truly amazing. I support them whenever possible, and they sell new and used books. They are also online at

Di said...

That reminds me of something I heard last night, a woman ordered a cake for a co-worker who was moving away. When she picked up the cake, it read:

underneat the line
We'll miss you

Yes, the verbal instructions for where to place the second line of text was written ON THE CAKE and not even spelled right!!!