Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Guest Post by Ruth Jordan

Crimespree Magazine is a longtime friend of this author, and the writing community in general.

Jon and Ruth Jordan, who run the mag, are two of the nicest people you could ever meet, and they've done a great deal for countless writers.

Here's a guest post by Ruth, seeking to turn a tragedy (over 200 Borders stores closing) into an opportunity:

Do You Have A Local?

by Ruth Jordan

This blog post is dedicated to all of the wonderful folk who feed my addiction for books in the most personal of ways. Sometimes it's nice to walk through the door and have everyone know your name. More importantly, it is astounding to think that I can go to 40 different cities in this country, roll up to the counter and the Bookkeeper is gonna be able to put my book of choice in my hand. This number would be even higher if I was better traveled.

This past weekend Crimespree flew to Minneapolis for Writes of Spring, an annual event held at ONCE UPON A CRIME. How heartening it is to see Authors rally around their local book store. Even better? Seeing the folks coming out to buy books. It warmed my heart to see that all that booky energy.

The last four times I've been to my own local, MYSTERY ONE BOOKS in Milwaukee the crowd has also been good. It's worth mentioning that on Super Bowl Sunday .. in Wisconsin, Robert Crais had an audience of 70 people. Not bad at all.

Have I lost you? Are you thinking there goes Ruth with her Rose Colored glasses? If you're still here I have an idea... a crazy, silly & wonderful idea. All I need is a little help from my friends. All I need is a little help from the people I haven't met yet but stumble across this blog. All I need is a commitment.

Do you remember the rush when you stumbled across that perfect book? Do you recall a cover calling to you, the flap copy adding to the harmony, and possibly a blurb that sealed the deal? When you read that book it was yours. The book belonged to you and was yours to talk about, share, put into other folks hands. It was the discovery that made it special.

For most fiction readers that feeling I just described along with print reviews is the way they find these treasures, for now. The casual reader likes to walk into a store and find the book that's going to get them through that chilly weekend or long plane ride.

Summer is coming and with it the beach & vacations. An outlet is gone for those who are part time readers to get their fix. The closing of Borders presents any number of problems to everyone with any conscious awareness of the Publishing Industry. Last year the box store accounted for 13% of all book sales.

There's an opportunity here. Last year Indy stores accounted for only 2% of Sales. Let's change that this year. Let's Make it 8%.

That co-worker who asks you what to read? The friend who asks you what you think they might like? Surely all of us can find two people to walk into an independent bookstore of our choice who've never been to one before.

That's it. That's my plan. If all of us do this we can help the Indy dealers who lay the footprint for the best sellers of tomorrow. These smaller stores may not have as many end caps or focal points as a Borders but they are full of reading goodness and staff who knows how to put the right book into the customer's hand.

There will be hard choices for writers, publishers, distributors and the consumer in the months ahead. But for the now, let's gift our family, friends and acquaintances with a choice they never knew they had. The Indy Book Store.

This idea is so simple I bet Joe Konrath has time to play and a desire to help.

Joe sez: I've always loved, and supported, bookstores. I've visited and signed at over 1200 of them, over the last eight years. I've thanked thousands of booksellers in my novel acknowledgments. Even though I've embraced digital, I still buy print, and I have over 5000 print books in my personal library.

What Ruth is asking here is simple. We all love bookstores, and unfortunately a lot of them are closing. But maybe those indy bookstores can take up that slack.

So visit your local indy, and tell two friends about it. Or bring those friends with you the next time you go. And if a bookstore has closed in your area, seek out another one.

And also, if you're a mystery, thriller, or comic book writer, subscribe to Crimespree. It's the best mag in the business.