Writers have a dilemma when it comes to the big online retailers (you know who you are!). On the one hand we want to support independent bookshops; on the other, the e-behemoths are so dominant, we need them if we want to get our books in front of as many readers as possible.
A solution may be on hand. Bookshop.org, launched in the UK this very day, is on a mission to support the indies by offering an alternative way to buy books online. It’s being described as a ‘revolutionary moment in the history of bookselling’.
Independent bookshops are marvellous things to be cherished. There, often housed in quaint old buildings, you’ll find people who, like you, love books and are ready and willing to answer questions and offer reading suggestions. Visiting an indie is in every way a much richer experience than clicking a ‘buy-now’ button. They are a vital part of our culture and the beating heart of many a town centre.
In these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to champion local bookshops. Even though up and down the land they are now having to close their doors for at least a month, you can still help them by visiting Bookshop.org, the online bookstore that financially supports local independent bookstores and gives back to the book community.
Taking on the giants of e-retailing is a tall order. Whether Bookshop.org has the clout to make a difference, we’ll just have to wait and see.