Spotlight on Indie Bookstores:
Saving Trees & Literature All at the Same Time!
Every week we discuss various industries and what they’re doing to go ‘green;’ how they are creating innovative ideas, products and systems to make this planet healthy again. Oddly enough, however, there is one industry that’s growing monumentally because of the hard hit that the publishing community has taken.
It’s a fact that eBooks are the source of literature that everyone seems to love right now. These paperless versions can be bought for a fraction of the cost of a ‘real’ book. With the eBook, recycling is not an issue and people do not have to give up a lot of hard-earned money in order to support their love of reading. This is also a way that has caused teens to become avid readers once again because they are truly ‘hooked’ on their Kindles, Nooks – and any other kind of technological device that their generation is more comfortable with.
The one thing that was causing worry in the publishing world was the fact that libraries were being closed and the need for ‘real’ books, as some still refer to them (books with the hard cover that you can keep on your bookshelf generation after generation that are seen as trophies in this eBook age), were basically disappearing.
The solution? Indie bookstores. Not the giants, mind you. This is not an article about the Barnes & Noble’s of the world out there; this is about those no-name, unfamiliar stores that are having a great deal of financial success because people all across the country are turning in their used books for cash. Or, if they’re like me, they’re turning them in for credit at the store so they can buy even more books.
Used bookstores are not only offering help to the environmentalists who want to do everything within their power to save trees – but they are also helping to provide jobs and keep the ‘real’ book as a part of our culture. Which in this writer’s mind is an absolute necessity. If the libraries shut down, if the book goes the way of the do-do and we have nothing but electronic books to keep us company, that would be disappointing. And with used books the price is cheap, the availability is wide, and there are some true treasures that can be found that make a person feel part-bookish/part-American Picker all at the same time.
In addition, these bookstores offer discounts, author signings and events that most of the ‘big guns’ no longer bother to spend money on. And the big winner when it came to this holiday season, believe it or not, was not the X-box or the new Smartphone, or any of the other devices that were a ‘must-have’ – it was the book. Books and gift cards to these bookstores were the big winners when it came to holiday shopping.
In addition, more and more charity sales are attracting booklovers all across the country – from readers to collectors. And with the data showing that over sixty million books are available at these sales with the asking price being set at only one or two dollars per book, every single one of those booklovers and collectors are buying books by the hundreds.
Bargain hunters, library lovers – all of us book nerds are attracted to the ‘real’ book but we don’t have the money to spend. This is why indie bookstores are showing profits. By the way, according to experts, this trend of indie bookstores and used books is going to keep on growing. Not to mention the sales that are put on by non-profits, churches, Friends of Libraries and more that are on the rise – with over 7500 being held each and every year. Books are being donated by the thousands, which is amazing and also extremely heartwarming considering that these special pieces of history are not simply being thrown away.
So as the publishing industry continues to battle and experience economic troubles, booklovers will continue to purchase ‘real’ books because they are more than happy to purchase recycled books. And, let’s face it, a used book has usually only been read once before it’s donated, so the condition is so good that it even looks like the brand new title that’s seen on the Barnes & Noble shelf.
Now…will eBooks kill these indie bookstores? There’s not even a chance of that. Although the eBook will continue to grow in popularity, over 80% of the American public has stated that they will continue to purchase ‘real’ books from these indie bookstores.
Therefore – a big ‘congratulations’ to the people out there who would not simply let the ‘book’ go gently into that goodnight. Not only are you creating a great industry that’s expanding by leaps and bounds, but you’re also saving those stunning trees that we want to stand tall and mighty for a long time to come. That way, the next generation can not only continue to read great literature, but they will also have a shady place to sit and enjoy the authors they will come to love.