On Supporting your Local Indie bookstore, and why I opt out.
March 10, 2011 § 3 Comments
So since I’m a writer and book-lover (I refuse to use the word “bibliophile” since it’s a tad pretentious and not a very pretty sounding word) I am supposed to be of the stereotype of persecuting anyone that doesn’t purchase any and all of their books at an Indie bookstore–that is to say, a locally owned bookstore.
I don’t, though. I actually prefer to get my books at Borders (too bad they’re closing) or Half-Price Books, or on Amazon. I actually stay far, far away from indie bookstores.
Why? Well, I don’t think anyone would deny that their prices are usually outrageous. They’re usually at least a couple of dollars higher than the MSRP price because they can’t purchase in bulk like giant retailers can because of lack of space. And the lack of space means they have a very limited number of books available. They don’t usually carry “old” books–books five years or older–and they mostly carry books by local authors–while a definite perk, I’m not one to usually support self-published authors and authoresses; too many bad to make it worth finding the good, although I guess I could say that about pretty much all literature now.
Indie bookstores seem to cater to these local authors and a “clique” begins to form. A pretentious (that would be twice I’ve used this word in this post) clique that outcasts those of us who simply like to browse or are looking for something particular and don’t necessarily want or care to purchase a local author book or anything for that matter, and is given the pretentious (three) staredown by the bookstore owners.
Not a way I’d like to spend my day, thank you very much.
If I browse, I like to go to Borders, because I find their stores to be more aesthetically pleasing than good ol’ B&N and while in said browsing mood I am supplied with endless titles in endless genres to poke through. It’s large enough to hold many people who are also doing their own thing so I don’t have to worry about anyone looking at me and if I don’t buy anything it’s alright. Plus, why not go somewhere where I can not only buy the book at the actual MSRP price, but for dollars cheaper by using one of my coupons or when the bookstore is going out of business, which is what’s happening. And borders actually does a good job at hosting local authors, so it’s got something for everyone.
For textbooks, Amazon is usually my trusted site, since I’ve bought a few for only a quarter each and the wait time is not too terribly long and they’re usually in decent condition. I love to browse at half-price stores because their is something to be said about owning a book that’s been owned by a slew of people before me–I could also say this about apt living, but it would not be as positive. It almost makes the story sweeter, knowing that I am only participating in the book’s history and am not the final act.
Plus, who doesn’t like a book for a dollar??
So, no. I will not go to Indie bookstores for the sake of it being an “indie” bookstore. Also, I think calling it “Indie” is actually a pretty stupid nickname. It’s short for “Independent,” but with the rise of hipsters the nickname’s origin has lost all it’s meaning and people that usually advocate it are the same people that wear hemp shoes or plugs in their ears and are only raising their voice at tragedy of the bookstore’s downfall simply because, to them, all things “indie” need to avenged. Have I mentioned how I am disappointed-but not surprised-at how trendy indie has become. I will not sign your petitions to support Trendy, I mean, Indie bookstores until they can provide me with the same service major retail bookstores do. And I will continue to buy books elsewhere and not feel bad about the decline of originality, or localness, or whatever adjective is used to make these bookstores sound wholesome and somewhat of a religious experience.
I will not say the same about other trendy, I mean, Indie things. I really like farmer markets and tiny comic book shops, and other things.
But if I want good reads–and I want a whole lot of them–I want them cheap and I want them to be in good supply.