The mystery community lost another bookstore this week. The Mystery Bookstore in LA has shut it's doors. I'm not exaggerating when I say people are mourning the loss.
Indie stores are vital to the genre of crime fiction. It's where new authors and smaller presses can break out. The people who run them read, a lot. They take it personal, they aren't just moving product, they are trying to sell you something they truly want you to enjoy, and they want to share the enjoyment with you.
As a consumer I understand the allure of shopping places whee things are cheaper. I mean who wants to pay more for something they can get cheaper somewhere else?
But there is also a bigger picture here. If all the indies go out, where will we discover the next Michael Connelly? Walmart and the big chains didn't care to much about his first couple of books. And I certainly don't want to rely on the internet for book recommendations. Not by itself anyway. The best way to learn about books is from other people, and in person if possible. I discovered more authors due to recommendations from book store owners than any other place. And I've never met an author on a website, but the mystery stores bring in authors and the publishers have sent them out to us, and as a result I have met some wonderful writers I may never have read.
So lets look at this realistically. Money is tight, but you want books. I think it's worth a little more to support the indies. If you buy 5 books a month, get one of them from and bookstore that can use the sales. if you only use the library, go out and pick up one or two paperbacks. And while you're at it, buy books by authors who can use the sales. James Patterson won't feel a bump in sales one way or the other, but there are a lot of midlist authors who having sold an extra couple hundred books could make a difference when it comes time to sign a new contract.
I shop amazon, and I like amazon. But I make an effort to spend at least half my book buying money with mystery bookstores.If we don't support the genre we may find ourselves with very few choices, and personally I want more to choose from than just Patricia Cornwell and Dan Brown.I just would not be happy with the choices that the chains want to give me.
If you love the genre, support the genre. If you love reading indie comics and creator owned comics, show your support by shopping at comic shops that carry the books you want to read. Go to mystery bookstores that introduce you to new authors and love the same books the way you do. Bookstores do more than just try to make money, they have a place in our community as a place to meet and share a love of something.