Where do you buy your books? At your favorite bookstores? Online? Wherever it’s most convenient? If convenience is the primary motivator, you may have contributed to the closing of your favorite bookstore.
I’m under the impression several independent booksellers have had rough times lately, and convenience may be a major culprit. That’s what I heard when I talked to Danielle Hargis, owner of Books Never Ending in Ringgold, GA. She said online ordering and discount stores were skimming off her sales of those top-selling books which have drawn a good bit of publicity. Stores like Walmart and Target have even been able to offer books before the publisher’s release date, effectively undercutting a bookstore’s sales.
Ms. Hargis said she has called many of her regular customers to let them know their book has come in, but heard that they have picked up the book recently while shopping at The American Dream and Yogurt Super Emporium. They don’t think of the purchase as not buying it from their favorite bookstore. They think of it as convenient. Little by little, such convenience is making independent bookselling an unsustainable business.
Are people still reading as much as they did twenty or so years ago? She thinks they are, but she warns readers “never judge a book by its movie.”
“Movies are ruining books,” she says, by twisting characters and plots, perhaps by spoiling the mystery of the better story from which the movie is derived.
She says, “I believe in [reading]. Those children who read are more capable of surviving in this world.” Their imaginations are enriched, she says, and their worlds enlarged. “Parents should encourage reading by allowing them to read what interests them.” Forcing children to read what’s good for them, she says, can make reading just another chore.
Books Never Ending, which sells new and used books, celebrates its tenth anniversary this month with a big sale. If you’re in the North Georgia or Chattanooga, Tenn. Area, consider looking for the store on Cloud Springs Road next to the Antique Mall. Ms. Hargis says she plans to host several authors at a large book-signing around the end of October.
And consider who you patronize when you buy books. That Clive Cussler novel may be begging to leap into your shopping cart, but your favorite bookseller has it too. He will appreciate your business more than the megastore.