Chapter 7 - The End of Your Life Book Club
Anytime an independent bookstore dies it is a sad event. We experienced this recently when in Baltimore cleaning out my mom's house. Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland closed it doors, after 49 years, on January 13, 2019. Dave and I were there on its last day and walking through the stripped down store, I was remembering all the wonderful times I had there. Originally the store was located closer to my home but about 13 years ago it moved to a suburb. G&R had the distinction of being the largest independent bookstore in Baltimore.
So how does a business that has existed for almost 50 years become obsolete? Well, we asked one of the employees and she indicated a couple of things. First, foot traffic was really off last summer because of all the rain that part of Maryland got. Second, Amazon. Yes it probably sounds like a broken record and while Amazon is great for prices it is really killing independent booksellers. Because Amazon has the buying power and connections to go straight to publishers they get their books for much less than the indies do.
Finally the owners just got tired of fighting for market share. They did everything they could to get customers in but clearly it wasn't enough. The employee told us about customers who asked for recommendations and then said, "Thanks, I'll just order it on Amazon." This happens to us at our store too.
So what can we do? Well, first of all shop at your local independent bookseller. Who doesn't love to walk into a book store and touch and smell a book? Most of us offer discounts on new books and we can really use your business. If you have a specific request, order online from us. Attend community events we have - author signings, book clubs, and writing groups. Talk about us to your friends. Use our book knowledge to find your next read. We can absolutely guarantee we'll give you better recommendations than some computer algorithm.
Believe me we appreciate your business much more than an 800 plus billion dollar company and you might just be saving your favorite independent book store!