Oh, the things you’ll find!
A good local bookstore will shelve all the current bestsellers and popular standards, but it will also be full of off-the-beaten-path recommendations from the bookselling staff. At any indie bookstore, you’ll find at least one staff member who shares your passion for poetry or history or children’s books or local hiking guides, and whose absolute favorite activity is filling your arms with heartfelt staff picks.
Bookstores are happy places.
Let’s be honest: No one gets into bookselling to make a cool million. So indie booksellers (and bookstore owners) sell books because they enjoy doing so, and because they’re passionate readers with a deep faith in the value of free speech and the written word. This helps make local bookstores cheerful places, alive with comradery, a shared sense of purpose, and a lot of English majors trying to out-pun each other.
Buying books (or candles, or socks, or toys, etc.) at your local bookstore helps keep your money circulating within your neighborhood economy. Unlike some international retailers, local businesses, both big and small, pay into state and local taxes that support public infrastructure programs. A book might seem like a small purchase, but whenever you buy locally, you’re sustaining your community.
It feels so good.
You know the pride you take in good deeds like composting or sorting your recycling or limiting your kids’ screen time? That same warm feeling of doing the right thing for yourself and others applies to shopping locally.
Everyone is welcome.
No matter your ethnicity, religion, gender orientation, sexual orientation, age, education level, economic status, or political affiliation, you will be treated with respect and kindness.
Neighborhood bookstores often highlight the work of regional authors and small presses with special displays and events, and sell locally crafted gifts and art. Perusing a local bookshop can give you a clear sense of the town or neighborhood you’re in, and the region’s predominant interests and concerns.
Third place is first place.
Local bookstores provide an important social environment often referred to as the “third place.” Not home and not work or school, third places are critical arenas for relationship building, exchanging ideas, or just relaxing. The defining element of a third place is that it is both of its community and responsive to it; as a hub for book clubs, storytimes, author talks, writing workshops, and a surprising number of weddings, your neighborhood bookstore exists for you, and owes its continued existence to your patronage.
An ambivert’s paradise.
Bookstores are the perfect place to go when you don’t want to be alone, but you also don’t want to talk to anyone. At the bookstore café, tucked in a corner, or hidden deep in the stacks, you can thumb through pages, eavesdrop on interesting conversations, or just be quiet alongside your book-loving kin.
That book smell.
Are you a new book smell person (crisp, inky); or, maybe you prefer the heady aroma of old paperbacks (almonds and vanilla flowers)? Either way, walking into your neighborhood bookstore is likely to fill your senses with that brilliant cocktail of new and crumbling paper that digital devices just can’t duplicate.