Independent bookstores have suffered a triple assault from the chain bookshops like Borders, the large everything stores such as Walmart, and the Internet. The result is fewer bookstores run and staffed by people who care about and know books. This blight has affected both the US and the UK.


Why should anyone care about the loss, after all with Amazon you can buy any book you want? The problem is just that; Amazon makes it easy to buy a book that you already know about; perfect for the next book by Charlaine Harris, less ideal for finding the next Charlaine Harris. A bricks and mortar shop allows you to browse and discover books of whose existence you were unaware. Staffed by people who know about books they can suggest books or answer those vague questions about the book whose title and author you forgot, but you heard about it on the radio last week.

I was prompted to write this article by a visit over the weekend to an excellent independent bookstore, The Bookpassage in Marin County. In addition to the advantages listed above, it has a long record of supporting local authors, by providing facilities for them to meet and prominently displaying their books.

The walls of the store display photographs of famous visitors to the store. They included Carter, Al Gore, Hilary Clinton, and Obama. No sign of either Bush, nor the California residents Reagan and Nixon. Who would have thought it in Marin County

Published in: on 19 October, 2009 at 6:44  Comments (1)  

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  1. Bay Books in Concord on the outside looks like a much smaller shop than it is but, as you might conclude is appropriate, runs deep. It is primarily a used book shop, but quite active as it hosts periodic lectures. The quality of material is impressive for such a small venue; they are picky buyers, which I offer from personal experience as I recently attempted to sell off some surplus reading materials and found most politely declined.

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