I drove thirty minutes to get to a bookstore today. Funny thing is I didn’t even need a book, per se; I just needed a bookstore.It wasn’t always so hard to “get my fix”. I was lucky enough to live in a town with a Borders in walking distance from our home. It was a destination for my family for years until one day it was plastered with bright yellow “Going Out of Business” posters.
As a writer, time in a bookstore is like returning to the mother ship. Sometimes it’s for inspiration. (Look at all these books that have been published. Mine will sell!) Sometimes it’s for a quick pity party. (Look at all these books that have been published. Mine must really suck!) And sometimes it’s an excuse to daydream about possibilities. (Let’s see...T...U...V...W, yep, that’s where my book will be...someday.) And sometimes it’s just as simple as I need to walk the aisles, hold a book in my hand, read the back, and get recommendations from the store’s knowledgeable employees.
I’m not saying online retailers don’t serve a purpose (full disclosure, our household has a Kindle and a Nook) and who among us hasn’t grabbed a new release off the shelves at Target when you’re there loading up on laundry detergent? But will the internet host a Harry Potter Block Party the way my local Borders did? And what about in-store events, will Sam’s Club invite 500 teenagers into the store to meet Veronica Roth like Anderson’s did? And let’s not forget the E.L. James event. I don’t know many “big box” retailers who would host the type of cocktail party/book signing that Roberta Rubin from The Book Stall held two weeks ago.
So even though I will continue to download books or toss them in my cart on the way to picking up a five pound vat of peanut butter, I will also continue my “road trips” because there’s something about a bookstore that calls to me, even from twenty miles away.