When I’m doing online research and see a footnote for a relevant book, I tend to first search for that title on Google because I’m lazy. It takes fewer keystrokes to do that than to go to Amazon or B&N and search for the title there. I often find the book at an independent bookstore that provides online ordering.
Yesterday, I was looking for this book because I refer to the battle multiple times in my novel in progress. General McArthur, wanting the glory of saying his troops pissed in and/or drank out of the Yalu River between North Korea and China, sent his troops north, ignoring the intel that his marines were marching into a trap near the Chosin Reservoir.
His marines were badly outnumbered, especially Fox Company which was guarding a strategic pass. The battle of Fox company is one of the most heroic in marine corps history in a war most of us have forgotten.
So a Google search on the title leads me to a copy available at the Whistlestop Bookshop an independent bookseller in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. With a few keystrokes, I ordered the book, pleased to be buying it from somebody other than Amazon. Good, I had the book on order without buying it from that near-monopoly that offers everything from A to Z.
Looking at the ABOUT US page, I know that if I lived in Carlisle. I would go to that store:
Whistlestop Bookshop opened in Gettysburg in August 1985 at 11 West Railroad St, right across from the Lincoln Diner. A quick two-and-a-half years later, in January 1988, we opened a second store in Carlisle at 152 West High Street, next door to Back Door Cafe and the Bosler Memorial Library.
Eventually, both stores moved to larger quarters. Whistlestop Gettysburg moved to 104 Carlisle Street. We closed it at the end of July 2004, after 19 years.
But, I don’t live there. No problem. They have an online presence I can use when looking for books in addition to Powell’s, IndieBound, and Bookshop.org. I see no reason to automatically head to Amazon because there are alternatives. A lot of people I know gripe about Amazon, but when they want a book, that’s where they go. I don’t quite understand that, especially when there’s a bookstore in the town where they live where they can BUY LOCAL.
Within a few days, I’ll be reading about “frozen Chosin,” as the marines called it.