Supporting local book shops
Ironically, even though I write books (to be fair, my books are mostly photography), I was never a reader. Though for most of my life, I have always loved browsing local shops, especially record / music shops to find what I am looking for. The thrill of the hunt is as sweet as finding the treasure. As a teen in the 80's, no one thought of doing it any differently. People of all ages even today love browsing and supporting small shops, even though large online retailers have hurt many shops, for the sake of consumer convenience. This creates new challenges for local retailers to build a community and following, to attract the customers who keep them afloat.
Local book shops are not as plentiful as they once were, though thankfully there has been a resurgence in recent years. A couple years ago, I learned about a local East Nashville book shop that closed; the circumstances were quite upsetting. The proprietor reported many instances of "showrooming"; people browsing the shop and using their curating skills to find what they were looking for, and ultimately buying online to maybe save a couple dollars. I can't begin to express how rude and self-centered this behavior is. If someone values the experience of browsing a local shop, they should support that shop if they want it to stick around. Besides, if a browser learns about a title through that book shop, they should get the sale. Even if it's out of stock, they can order anything. I know some people are impatient and impulsive, and think "this one sale won't make or break them" but if 5-10 people a day have that mentality, it adds up fast.
It gets tricky as an author, supporting local book shops and online platforms, because it's all a part of the distribution process. I know that there are a lot of Amazon buyers, and that's why I make direct links to my titles easily accessible. One click, and it's shipped to their door. This also proved to be valuable during the pandemic, as many retailers had to temporarily or permanently close. lots of stock was returned, which hurt my publisher as well. However, I also want to promote the chain and independent local bookshops by linking my local favorites on my home and titles pages. As well as provide resources helping readers find local shops to browse. My titles are regionally distributed to retailers, though all of them should be able to order any title. If you like browsing local shops, please consider giving them the sale.