Today on the blog Janie Chang, author of Three Souls, shares information behind a new Canadian initiative that invites authors into local independent bookstores across Canada. Read on to find out more and visit your local bookstore on May 2nd to support the cause!
I feel we’ve never needed bookstores more. Much as I appreciate how technology can make life more convenient, I’ve decided I don’t always want a layer of technology standing between me and the book buying experience. Technology optimizes book-buying down to a transaction, and in doing so, filters out the best part of the experience. Over the last few years, I’ve gone back to buying books at independent stores.
Instead of an algorithm, I get a discussion with knowledgeable staff about their relationship with the book (if you’re reading this blog, you’re a book nerd and know what I mean by having a relationship with a book). Instead of one-clicking my way to instant gratification, I email my local bookstore to order a hard-to-find volume, enjoy the anticipation while I wait, and look forward to another excuse to visit the store. When I wander around in there, I get to browse, really browse, and discover. Discovery can be purposeful, random, or serendipitous. Does a cover catch my eye? Or is it a title? Better flip through the pages and get a sense of the author’s style. Oooh, what’s that on that Staff Picks shelf?
For us book nerds, a brick-and-mortar bookstore feels like home and candy store all rolled into one (but with fewer calories). To quote bestselling author Ann-Marie MacDonald, “Independent bookstores enrich our communities. They provide gathering places for discovering new authors, sharing favourite books, and expanding our horizons. Store managers are thoughtful curators, bringing in books they know customers will love. Our neighbourhoods would be much diminished without our local bookstores.”
Yet our neighbourhoods are in danger of being diminished by bookstore closures. Bookselling is a tough business. None have been hit harder than independent bookstores.
So, on Saturday May 2, more than 600 Canadian authors will be taking part in an event called Authors for Indies. Step into one of 120 participating bookstores on May 2 and you’ll find us there working as guest booksellers, chatting with customers, and suggesting titles you would enjoy.
Just take a look at the website to see which stores in your province are hosting authors. As one person said, “the line-up would put a literary festival to shame”. Watch the lovely video. Read the blog featuring pieces by some terrific Canadian authors. There’s a Facebook community page and a Twitter account.
But most of all, visit an independent bookstore on May 2 to show your support. Many of the stores also have special activities planned, so check their websites and Facebook pages.