Defying expectations — isn’t that part of what makes life exciting? Well that’s probably the best way to describe what’s happening in bookstores over this holiday season. While many independent store owners expected a lackluster season, quite a number of them are going gangbusters. Just check out this recent headline from The New York Times: “E-Books, Shmee Books: Readers Return to the Stores.” Ain’t it grand?
As authors, we’re in the catbird’s seat: we can reach our audiences both digitally and on the page. But as a booklover, I’m really heartened to hear that independent bookstores are having a strong season. I love going down to my local bookstore, Watchung Booksellers, and browsing around at holiday time. What a delight!
It was also great to see R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut featured in the Times story: I interviewed the owner Roxanne Coady for my book Birthing the Elephant and had a lively book event there a few years ago. It’s a dream bookstore: A cheerful, welcoming palace of the page, with wooden floors and tables and bookshelves and interesting nooks you can tuck yourself into for a nice cozy read, along with a café where you can meet a friend and have lunch. With lots of events and great author appearances, it’s a wonderful community resource and Roxanne is an inspired and innovative bookseller with a flair for marketing.
How encouraging as well to see booksellers praising the rich array of new titles they have to offer this year and to hear that people are eager to tackle challenging nonfiction as well as dip into novels. Just think of all those glorious, glossy, hefty new books waiting to be unwrapped and dipped into over the holidays! What could be more satisfying than plunging into a whole new world with a cup of hot chocolate and a few sugar cookies by your side?
How about you? Are there any big books on your shopping list this year?