Monday, 29 October 2012

Celebrating independent bookshops, and an award

My small town has an independent bookshop. It's always had a bookshop, and yet I didn't fully appreciate it until last week.

I've always tried to support my local shops. Our high street currently has a wonderful selection of shops (it goes in weird phases of great shops, great shops failing, empty shops, great shops again) and I use them as well as my local big-city shops. I can buy myself croissant and a cup of tea for breakfast, treat myself to a massage and manicure, and buy myself a painting of my local landmark. I can have lunch at an Italian cafe, read a magazine down on the river, then wander back up and have afternoon tea in the bookshop's tea room. And all of this within a ten minute walk of my house.

So, yes, my town is pretty cool. But this bookshop is the coolest thing of all.

To understand this post, you have to know that the day before my revelation I went into Waterstones. Now, I actually like this shop - whenever I'm meeting friends I'll always duck in and have a quick look around. But this particular day, when I walked in, I was confronted by a whole table of celebrity autobiographies... some of whom I didn't realise were celebrities. And on another table there was a display of 50 Shades of Grey-style erotica.

I felt my heart sink a little. I know that's a cliche, but that's how hard my heart sank!

Twenty-four hours later, I was stood in my local independent. Okay, so the choice wasn't as vast, by a long shot, but I was browsing for about ten minutes before I finally chose the book I wanted - and, best of all, there were about ten different self-published local authors on the shelves. How brilliant to have them side by side the traditionally published books. In an age where publishing is a state of flux, to put it mildly, I hope this shop and all the others like it continue to thrive, because we need them!

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The wonderful Patsy has given me this lovely Top Commenters award. Thank you so much, Patsy!

I am so grateful to everyone who reads my blog and comments - it means I'm not wasting my time by sharing my ramblings with you. I'm going to pass this award on to some of my most regular commenters:

Kyra Lennon at Write Here, Write Now
Linda at Excuse Me While I Note That Down...
Elizabeth Seckman at Use Your Words...
lizy-expat-writer at lizy-expat-writer
Allison at Geek Banter
Suze at Analog Breakfast
Murees Dupé at DAILY DRAMA OF AN ASPIRING WRITER
Joanne at Word Splash - Joanne Faries

I know I've missed loads of people, and I apologise whole-heartedly for that. You guys are all awesome!!
(Oh, and due to the fact that there are loads of people on my list, and I'm not feeling well, I'm going to test their commenting awesomeness and see how long it takes for them to notice they've been awarded... *cue Dr Evil laugh*)

[edited: 30/10/12 to include a link to Patsy's blog - sorry for forgetting to do it Patsy!]





62 comments:

  1. I love your Dr. Evil laugh at the end.

    I also have a fantastic independent book shop. It's just twenty miles away (ERG!) Everything is farther away in the US. Anyhow, I'm glad you have a good shop. I think they are absolutely crucial.

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    1. Twenty miles? It's no wonder people turn to the internet. Enjoy your visits to the shop!

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  2. Your town sounds a bit like mine. I live in a small, mountain town, and love to wander the Main Street (yes, it's really called that) and check out the book store. It's always crammed with local authors self-published or small indie published books as well as the best-sellers. Plus, they'll special order anything! What service.

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    1. Our street is called Fore Street, which is just as inventively named as Main Street :-) The individual service is another great aspect of the indie shops!

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  3. Thanks for the award!!

    That bookshop sounds fab. I love little places like that!

    Sorry you're not feeling well - hope you get better soon!

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    1. Feeling much better, thanks Kyra. Just one of those niggly things. You're welcome on the award :-)

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  4. It sounds like a fab book store. It is such a shame that so many highstreets are suffering at the moment. I do hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Our town is surviving at the moment, but like I said in the post it goes in phases, so I've got my fingers crossed.

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  5. Your town does sound great! I miss the small town life. Thanks for passing on the award to me!! I noticed the day of! Do I pass, do I pass? haha. I always feel like I do not visit as many blogs as I would like as often as I would like though. Feel better soon.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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    1. Lol, yes Alison, you definitely pass :-) It is hard to visit all the blogs you want to, but I see you around so you're definitely getting out and about!

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  6. Hooray for your local bookshop! I hope the small independents do not close down completely (unfortunately many of them are), because we need them!

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    1. We definitely do - mine has been in town longer than me, but the lady who runs it must be close to retiring. I hope she has someone lined up to take over.

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  7. One of our local shops closed, but we have two more and a used bookstore that I think is willing to help local authors.

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    1. Sad that one closed, but it must be lovely to have 3 others. They definitely are much more willing to help local authors. Mine has regular author events. I'm just hoping mine will still be around when I have a physical book to promote!

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  8. Congratulations!
    I usually ignore the displays at the front of our local chain bookstore because they are mostly crap I wouldn't want to read.

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    1. The chain stores really don't like to take risks, do they?

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  9. Congrats on the award. How great of your bookshop to support local authors. Wish I had one in my town - like yours, shops come and go all the time - maybe if I make enough money I could open one one day!

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    1. Wouldn't that be fantastic, to open your own bookshop? I'd love to do that one day too.

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  10. I saw some erotica like that front and center in the window of a bookstore in my [small] town, too. I thought it was weird. XD

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    1. It looks so out of place, but suddenly it seems to be completely acceptable. One day people are going to realise what they've been endorsing and be a bit embarrassed... or maybe not?

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  11. You're right. It is great to see self-pubbed along with traditionals at the bookstores. It's a new era we're entering and it feels great to be part of it :)

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  12. Great books, independent bookstores are the best!! I love going into ours, my only problem is that she keeps strange hours, but I guess that is the beauty of owning your own bookstore. :)

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    1. A lot of the shops in our town still have half-day closing on a Wednesday, a remnant from days long ago, although not as bad as it used to be. Even just 15 years ago, town was dead on a Wednesday afternoon!

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  13. All hail the independent bookshop!! I would have died long, long ago without them... :)

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    1. They fill an important gap in the market, long live independent bookshops!

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  14. Thank you so much for the award Annalisa. Once again you made my day. Thanks. Your town is amazing!

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  15. Can I move in with you, Annalisa? We haven't got a bookshop within fifty miles! Or a teashop, though cafes abound.

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    1. You poor thing, Lizy, of course you can. Come and have a cream tea with me! Did you notice the award I gave you?

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  16. Love the Dr. Evil laugh...

    We have a little indie bookstore in my town. They do a lot for the self pubbed local authors so I always try to support them when I can.

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    1. It's a reciprocal thing - if we don't support our small bookshops they won't be there to support us when the time comes.

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  17. I'm late for the Dr.Evil laugh, but thanks for the little award. It's a treat to read your blog and you have a nice variety of friends/fellow writers/readers who comment. Your little town sounds delightful and I'd like to stroll about it today and hang in the indie bookstore. Very cool of them to support traditional and self-pub alike. There's room for everybody. We just have to smush in closer.

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    1. You're welcome - thanks for continuing to visit. Yes, I do have great people following this blog :-) And you're right - there is room for everyone, though if you listen to some traditional and self-published authors, you'd definitely think they were at war!

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  18. Congratulations on the award!
    The book store sounds great. We don't have an indie bookstore in our town (it's really small) but I keep wanting to see if there is one in one of the surrounding towns. I should really get on that. . .

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    1. Yes, Rachel, you really need to go out and find your nearest independent bookshop... or open your own?

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  19. That bookshop sounds cozy... and that award is very cute!

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    1. It used to be 'cozier' but they moved to a bigger unit!

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  20. I wish I still had an independent bookstore in my neighborhood, I love them. Your store sounds wonderful.

    Congrats on the award!

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    1. Thanks Julie. It's sad how many bookshops are closing.

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  21. I LOVE independent bookstores. I like this one near me called Murder by the Book - it's wonderful.

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  22. Now I feel pressured. How am I supposed to be good when you blinded me with that spotlight? hehe

    I placed my book at the local book store and when I tell people it's there, people will say, "We have a book store?" Sad how little we know about our own communities!

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    1. That's terrible people don't know they have a bookshop in town! I hope they all went straight there to buy your book :-)

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  23. Hi Annalisa .. our independent bookstores have gone - we've a very good second-hand bookshop - that's being outdone by the likes of Oxfam ... it's a huge challenge. We too have Waterstones ... Eastbourne is a mix of big shops, and charity shops mostly now ... a few others tucked around. I've been supporting locals stores and societies recently - so important to do so .. and support our own local artists too ...

    I hope you feel better - can't be ill for Halloween ...

    Congratulations on the award - commenting is so important ... cheers to you all - Hilary

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    1. The Oxfam influence is a tough one, because I also like to support charity shops. There was an amazing book in my local Oxfam bookshop a few months ago which was published as a memento of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee - just holding that book was wonderful, but I didn't have the money at the time, and when I went back it was gone.

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  24. Thank you for the award! It's perfectly timed as I was actually about to get around to posting this week! Congrats on yours - I love the sound of your high street - ours is looking a bit on the sad side :-(

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    1. You're welcome Linda :-) Mine was sad a few years ago, but the town council are doing a stonking job in trying to make the place more lovely.

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  25. Our tiny town has an independent bookshop, a greengrocer, butcher, baker and several other good shops including one which sells nothing but sausages. We also have a newly opened Tesco we absolutely didn't need so I expect that soon it'll just be that, the estate agents and charity shops left.

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    1. Tesco have bought land in our town. We have a Waitrose and Lidl, and so far our butcher and greengrocer, and the local Co-op have all survived. There are many mixed feelings about Tesco though - that's a different ballgame.

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  26. Oh those commenters will notice if they haven't already, because they are so awesome :) Most of them are my top commenters too. :)

    And I haven't been in an independent bookstore in forever! *hides in shame* I've got to do this instead of shopping Amazon exclusively.

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    1. Amazon has it's place, but there's nothing quite like browsing the eclectic shelves of an independent bookshop :-)

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  27. I love my independent bookstores.

    Gotta give the public what they want, so they all succumb to those books. Ugh.

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    1. At least independent shops have the choice to buy a wider range than just the bestsellers! I sometimes recommend books to friends and they've never heard of the author, even relatively well-known ones... :-(

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  28. I saw 50 Shades on a Literature shelf at my local bookstore and started laughing, really loudly. I don't believe it was appreciated.

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    1. Literature... well, it's got that black stylish cover, perhaps that makes the difference? :-)

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  29. Your town sounds lovely! We don't have any independent bookstores here except for a secondhand shop which doesn't feature anything different than the chains. They all push the same books, the celebrity-penned and poorly written sensations, up front. About two years ago we stopped at an independent book store on our way home from Augusta. It was only about forty-five minutes from here but for the life of me my husband and I cannot remember where.

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    1. That's such a shame you can't remember where the shop is. I hope one day you stumble across it again.

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  30. So very cool about your town. I live in a university town and there's no neat little bookshops here. I'm jealous!

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    1. I'd have thought a university town would be the ideal place for some independent bookshops. It's a shame you don't have anything like that.

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  31. What a great town. We only have one bookstore. Sadly it's not an independent and it's 20 miles form me. I'm jealous too.

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    1. I also feel lucky that everything I want is so close to me.

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Please comment - I love a good chat!