Small Business Saturday — Shop at your local indie bookstore!

Small Business Saturday is just around the corner. I love this nationwide effort to urge people to patronize their local businesses, and I hope everyone gets a jump on their holiday shopping by spending some money in their hometown stores.

On Saturday afternoon, I'm going to be working as a bookseller at one of my favorite independent bookstores, Valley Bookseller on Main Street in Stillwater, MN. Local authors Peter Geye, Thomas Maltman and Lori Evert will be joining me — it's going to be a fun day. Authors are volunteering at indie bookstores nationwide on Small Business Saturday as part of the Indies First campaign, designed to encourage people to patronize their local bookstores.

I'm happy to lend my time to this effort — it's important to support independent bookstores, especially now. It's not easy to keep these businesses open in the face of competition from sites like Amazon. We just lost a great bookstore in Wayzata, MN, The Bookcase, and three others have closed in the Twin Cities in recent weeks.

I get that people like to shop online, it's easy, it's oftentimes cheaper, but I'm asking all of my readers to close their laptops and head to their local bookstores on Saturday. And I'll tell you why.

There's just something about the experience of browsing through the shelves that you simply can't get online. The feel of the books, the images on their covers, the smell of the paper.

But it's the booksellers that really make the difference. Booksellers love what they do. They're highly knowledgable and love to recommend books and to introduce their customers to new authors. They'll put a book into your hands that you hadn't heard of before, and you'll love it.

You can't meet the authors of your favorite books at online sites, but you can meet them at your local bookstore.

Independent bookstores have been very good to me. They got behind me when my first book came out, and put it into their customers' hands. They introduced me to readers who had never heard of an author named Wendy Webb. They asked me to come to their stores. And they continue to support me, book after book. I'm enormously grateful, and I'm going to do all I can to support them right back.

So, please. On Small Business Saturday, swing into your local bookstore, meet some authors, and buy books.

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Published on November 25, 2014 08:29
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