Yesterday I was in one of my favorite places, Portland, Maine, and approached my first bookstores, with new novel in hand, new press kit, an invoice agreement, snappy business cards, and a carload of hope, to see if they'd be willing to stock copies of my new mystery, "A Memory of Grief."
Yowza! When they heard I'd been a resident of that lovely city, and the novel itself was set there, they went for copies like Summer tourists go for lobster!
The first place was Nonesuch Books, and turned out to be such a charming, cozy place, I wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon there reading. You instantly feel welcome and comfortable-- maybe they've figured out some way to permeate the place with endorphins.
Then we went downtown, to the heart of Portland, to Longfellow Books. This is a real urban bookstore, full of funky character. You walk in and instantly feel smarter, knowing there's some solid reading material surrounding you, and books that are old friends. Once again, I'd have stayed and browsed and bought, if I hadn't had a prior engagement.
Am happy to work with some great indie bookstores, since they've got nice people in charge, and they're terrific places. I'll return to both, just because they're very cool places to be.
There are lots of reasons for doing your shopping at an indie bookstore, rather than at a chain or online-- not just to get my book, but for all the other ones they stock. They support whole communities, and the money you spend stays local, to help the area, rather than go off to some foreign corporate office. There are connections to be made-- people who smile and can recommend good reading for you.