Friday, May 01, 2009

Buy Indie Day Today and Every Day!

The genesis is lost in the mists of April. The best stories, though, lay the idea at the feet of American thriller writer Joseph Finder (Killer Instinct, Power Play) who started the ball rolling with a tweet on Twitter. And, once that roll had begun, there was no holding it back. By early this week, the call had reached a strident, high pitched command: “Buy Indie” came the shouts and, by all accounts and as I write this, they did. They are. And they will.

The idea, of course, is that no one understands booklovers the way independent booksellers do. From the outset, this seems only logical. It’s not possible for a huge chain to respond to the needs of individual clients the way an indie can. And a big, faceless online bookseller? Clearly, they can’t give customers the level of caring and service that your neighborhood bookseller can.

And here’s the thing: the power? It’s all with us. Here’s what I mean:

These days it seems as though we’re losing to many and too much of our newspapers. Cutbacks. Layoffs. Even, in some cases, closed doors. And why? In part, the fault is ours: we’re simply not reading -- and paying for -- them enough. Advertisers have noticed and they’re staying home. The result? A bloodbath that’s making those of us who love newspapers weep every time we hear of another cutback, another stilled press.

It’s not surprising that a lot of the same people who love news and newspapers also value independent booksellers. A lot of us even have our own special, favorite stores. Vendors with whom we have a relationship: who order in new books they figure we’ll like. Who say our name when we walk in the door.

Today then becomes the day we symbolically rescue our favorite bookseller. And if everyone makes the same wish, and walks through those doors, that wish will come true.

Times are difficult. We all know that. And a lot of us are making sacrifices. All the numbers, though, point to the fact that books are not among the sacrifices we’re making. We might skip a vacation this year, but our souls and hearts still need to travel. Books will take you there.

We have learned -- perhaps are learning -- that our actions as individuals really do have impact. We’re learning, as a generation and in so many ways, to walk the walk. So buy indie today: as with all the best deals and decisions, everybody wins.

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