Wednesday, September 19, 2012

For the sake of a dollar

I heard a bit of bad news for some of my bookseller friends today. After many years of working for a well known bookstore, they are all losing their jobs. Their place of employment is closing.
I think of how much they all loved working together and how they’ve sacrificed going to better paying jobs because of their passion for books. It used to be a good company to work for; a company who cared about their employees and about books. Now they are focused on keeping up with the competition and the electronic age. They must get their piece of the pie.  The world is changing and so many good things seem to be falling to the wayside for the sake of a dollar.
We must remember how precious the written word is, and how important the people who help bring that word to us are. 
It is a bookseller who can make or break the success of a novel.
Don’t be fooled by the convenience of electronic reading devices. They are a great tool in helping you buy a book, but not so great in helping you choose a book.  I have an e-reader so I’m not against owning one, but they are a sorry replacement for a bookseller in a bookstore.
 A bookseller takes the time to talk to you, to ask questions, to get know what authors you’ve read in the past and why you like them. They will recommend similar authors. You might say all of that can all be done electronically as well, but what about the books you didn’t buy. What about the book your friend gave you. The one that you loved so much, but you’ve forgotten the title and the author.  
A bookseller will know the questions to ask to help you find that book.
I’m so sad that my friends will not be continuing to do the work they’ve loved so much, and you should be sad too, because somewhere a community is losing a very important part of what they need, a bookstore in their neighborhood, and booksellers who care about putting a book in their hands. The children in that neighborhood won’t have a safe place to go for storytime or to get books for their school reading lists. Not everyone owns an e-reader.
So I ask all of you out there to visit your local bookstore often because you never know when it will be shutdown like so many others.
That neighborhood really needed that bookstore and now they’ll probably knock down the building and put a stupid casino there.  It just makes me sad.