Happy Independent Bookstore Day

“One Day. Hundreds Of Bookstores. Fifty States. Join The Celebration! Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April. Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Nowhere else.” – Indie Bound

Buy Local

“Small-scale, locally owned businesses create communities that are more prosperous, connected, and generally better off across a wide range of metrics. When we buy from independent, locally owned businesses, rather than national chains, a significantly greater portion of our money is then cycled back through our local economy — to make purchases from our friends’ businesses, to aid our neighbors in need, and to support our local farms — ultimately strengthening the base of our whole community.” – Sustainable Connections

My favorite dark humor cartoon showed an independent bookstore next door to another local store. I believe the manager was standing on the sidewalk ready to welcome customers. Meanwhile, at the store next door, a staff member was outside on the sidewalk taking an incoming order of books from an Amazon truck.

We seem nearly brainwashed to buy from Amazon. It’s just as easy to buy from a local bookstore or, if there isn’t one, from a local store that sells online, including Powell’s and The Strand. (The Strand has a sale today.) Indie Bound (click on the graphic above) has a store finder. If they’re too far away, check their websites: many of them sell online. Just type in your zip code to see what’s near you. The displayed stores usually have website links.

As an alternative to Indie Bound, check out Bookshop. Order books online from them and you’re supporting local bookstores.

If you still feel a deep need to support the Amazon Empire, I’m sure there’s a Twelve-Step program to set you free.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing

Website

Facebook Author’s Page

Amazon Author’s Page

Available from Bookshop

Transitions

  • Since my author’s website will expire in 20 days, I’m transitioning this blog into a website–to the extent that’s possible. The first thing is a new books page which contains most if not all of my books.
  • When I’m playing hookey from my writing, I read a lot. I roar through books at the rate of one or two a week. I re-read many of my books and have found myself transitioning over to non-fiction a lot of the time for a change of pace. This week, it’s Jeff Shaara’s Rise to Rebellion that focuses on the events leading up to the revolutionary war. I wish I’d had his well-researched novels in history class since I’ve learned more from them than I did in the classroom. I met Jeff when he was a teenager, though he wouldn’t remember me since I was one of his father Michael’s many students who came to the house once a week for our college creative writing class.
  • I link some of my books (in promotions, etc.) to IndieBound as a book-store friendly alternative to Amazon. Now I’m linking my books to Bookshop.org as well because it supports bookstores rather than supporting the Amazon near-monopoly. All of my books are there since the hardcover copies are printed by Ingram.
  • My wife and I watch a fair number of noir movies on the TMC (Turner Classic Movies) channel. One of my favorites (it’s hard to choose) is the 1975 version of “Farewell, My Lovely” (from Raymond Chandler’s novel) starring Robert Mitchum as Phillip Marlowe. (Wikipedia notes that Mitchum was the only actor who portrayed Marlowe more than once.) As always, I like the deadpan voice-over dialogue of noir movies along with the gloomy cinematography and the plots filled with down-and-out people. This movie is usually referred to as neo-noir since it wasn’t made during the 1940s/1950s noir period. However, the movie was set in 1941, and the cast, director, and photographers get everything right and was a nice change of pace from the films on Netflix.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the three-volume Florida Folk Magic series that begins with “Conjure Woman’s Cat.” (Click on the book graphic to see what’s its Bookshop listing looks like.)

 

An Indie Alternative to Amazon? 

The past few years have been rocky for Chris Doeblin, owner and cofounder of Book Culture, four beloved independent bookstores in New York City. “Before Amazon we had a viable company. I made a decent living in New York City. We bought an apartment,” he says. “Twenty-five years later I’m on the verge of bankruptcy. Our stores can go out of business any minute.”

Source: An Indie Alternative to Amazon? | Poets & Writers

The website is already up, perhaps as a teaser or a priming-the-pump-before-launch kind of thing at https://comingsoon.bookshop.org/signup

I hope these folks can make their plan work because Amazon, while it has provided a service to indie authors who can’t get their books into bricks and mortar stores, has become a big problem: a monopoly.

I link my books to other online sites as often as possible, but I think people just read the books’ descriptions and then go buy them at Amazon. (I do appreciate the people who buy them.)  But we need alternatives in addition to Powell’s, B&N.com, and even IndieBound.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed about this venture.

Malcolm

 

Fall Reading: See anything you like?

Once the barrage of lightweight summer books has come and gone, readers’ thoughts to turn fall reading and holiday gifts. To help us make our choices, the usual flurry of best books of the year articles and lists is showing up all over the Internet and in your favorite book stores. For this, you can always start with the list of 101 best books of the year on Publishers Weekly.  (The feature has site errors in it, but click on OK and get past them.) Or you can look at USA Today’s list of fall books here.

Indie Bound publishes a “Next” list for upcoming books. Here are their favorites for November:

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Likewise, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) keeps up with bestsellers for bookstores in the southeast. Here’s the link to their hardbacks PDF. On the download, they’ve highlighted several books, including:

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When people ask me about fiction and poetry, my answer depends on what (if anything) I know about the person. Do they like romance, fantasy, general fiction, crime? However, my three top picks of the year in fiction are:

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And, for those who like poetry (I think Bryant’s latest book is only on Sams Dot Com):

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I’m intrigued by these short stories, but they may not work for everyone:

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In  the crime category, I liked Robert Galbraith’s (J. K. Rowling) The Cuckoo’s Falling and  Stephen King’s Joyland. In plays, I liked Elizabeth Clark-Sterne’s On the Doorstep of the Castle. Also, Tracy R. Franklin’s strong collection of poetry and essays Looking for the Sun Door is a beautiful book. And, since a short story of mine appears in the anthology, I have to mention Spirits of St. Louis: Missouri Ghost Stories. Of course, I wouldn’t mind if you clicked on the banner below to take a look at my new contemporary fantasy The Betrayed.

I hope you find plenty out there for your to-be-read list and for the lists of your friends and family.

Malcolm

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