Friday, January 11, 2008

Death of a Bookseller?

Since BayShore Books opened almost two and a half years ago, I have been asked many times if I am crazy. Assuming this is a rhetorical question, I just smile, but the truth is I have asked myself this same question many times. Book selling is a dying profession, or I should say dream since this can in no way be considered a JOB. Thanks to the internet and electronic readers, who needs paper books? Pretty soon independent bookstores will be extinct. Right?

I admit if I need facts and need them now, I have never shied away from Google. Reading for pleasure is a whole different story, though. Sure, purchasing books online may be easier, but it can not compare to browsing shelf after shelf of dusty books searching for the one to take me on a magical journey. How do you run into friends and neighbors at an internet bookstore and enjoy a lively discussion on your fantasy love affair with Nicholas Sparks? Is purchasing a pre-signed copy of Dead Madonna the same as having an intimate chat with Victoria Houston?

To my great surprise, I am not alone in my thinking. In 2007 American Booksellers Association welcomed 115 new independent bookstores. ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz stated, "this is very good news and an indication of a growing trend among communities that are recognizing the unique contributions of local independent businesses. These new ABA member stores offer a one-of-a-kind environment and knowledgeable owners and staff who are dedicated to serving their neighborhoods."

In Wisconsin, we are fortunate enough to add three new bookstores this year. Annz Books & More will be a great addition to Chetek with it’s woodsy, cozy feel and Amish built shelves. After teaching reading for 34 years, the owner is sure to have an exciting children’s section!

If science fiction is your genre, Mr. Baggins’ Book Shop in Williams Bay is a must. There you will find a wide selection of new and used books as well as games.

While in historic downtown Mosinee, stop in to see what The Beacon Bookshelf has to offer. Enjoy a beverage from Beatitudes Coffee, Tea, Bistro after Book Club or Story Time.

Another personal favorite in Wisconsin is The Reader’s Loft in Green Bay. Store Manager, Melissa Olm’s advice was invaluable on our mission to open BayShore Books. Menominee Michigan bookstore Aurora Books has also received high praise.

Now is your chance. Tell us about your favorite neighborhood bookstore and give them the kudos they deserve!

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