This afternoon, I happened upon a Facebook post that included a fairly recently-published book by one of my FB Friends. Seems Amazon was significantly marking down (at least) some of its books, including this one, for its “Prime” members. I replied with a snarky comment, along the lines of, “If you truly care about books and writers and blah-blah-blah, then you’ll stay away from Amazon and their ilk, and do your book shopping at Independent Booksellers.”
Well, the person who posted, with whom I’ve had no previous/other contact with, graciously replied that for true book-aholics, it can be hugely cost-prohibited to purchase all their books at “indies.” Further, there are also the issues of “lesser-known” books and new-releases not always being stocked at locally-owned bookstores; and that those same sellers occasionally charge authors for having book-signings and -readings at their stores. Finally, as writers and lovers of books, it just might be a niggling thing being concerned about where readers get their books. Once again, I was reminded the world isn’t always so black and white. I was so taken and grateful for the deepening and broadening of the conversation, a few back-and-forths between me and the woman who’d done the posting, I asked permission to “Share” our post, which was granted.
I’m not a published author, yet. But when I do have my first book published, and also all the subsequent ones, how important will it be, really, how my book(s) arrived in my readers’ hands? Will I be more hung-up on because some of them bought my book on Amazon, or at Barnes and Noble, than the fact that they’re reading my work, that my writing is making further progress in the world?
I don’t like online conglomerates and their big-boxed ilk. But I do (yes) occasionally shop there. But I also make a point to regularly order from my own local “indie;” and each time I’ve visited Telluride, I’ve stopped (at least once) at Between the Covers, their local independent bookstore. More than just with books, I’m a huge believer in, “putting your money where your house is.” Local business typically do so much more for their communities than simply hiring your neighbors, friends, and family. Next time you go to a school athletic game, or a concert, or a play, look inside the program and see who have been the contributors to the event you’re about to watch. I’ll bet the majority will be local, small businesses.
I’m still getting comments from that “Shared” posting of mine. As suspected, everyone so far has grumbled about Amazon, etc; but they’ve also mentioned some of the good even those Conglomerates perform. So, no, it’s not a black and white world. Nor is it always a simple one.