I did a signing at the first Pasadena Litfest today, for the Once Upon A Time Bookstore in Montrose, CA. They had a nice double booth in the park on a perfect day. We noticed someone looking at my book and then getting on her phone, probably to check for other prices. Then a very nice girl discovered my book, read the jacket copy and wanted to buy it. But she wondered how much it was. Said she didn’t have enough now but was it available elsewhere. What could I say, it wasn’t like this was the only place she could buy it? I sort of mumbled something about supporting the bookseller who is here, but I don’t think she got it and partly because I didn’t really explain it. I admit, I’m not a salesperson, I’m a writer.
But of course as I drove home I thought of what I should have said. When you support these smaller, independent bookstores, you are getting extra value. That bookseller gets to know your taste, you can come in or call up and ask for something new. They’ll help you sort out which one book would appeal to you as the YA market grows and it’s not clear what’s what. They’ll help you get a signed copy, maybe even a personalized one. And it’s a great, cozy environment to enter and browse, to crack open a book the way that girl did today, feel the paper, flip around, get a sense if it’s the book for you.
We all know about bookstores closing, so the ones that remain are treasures. In my links to the right, the Indiebound one will take you to many Indie bookstores. And if you’re lucky enough to have one of these within driving distance, stop in and look around.