A Big Thumbs Up for Independent Bookstores

My youngest daughter and I are spending a few days in Seagrove Beach, Florida, during her hiatus between college classes.

As always a required visit while we are here is to Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida, which is only a couple of  miles down the road.

Sundog Books is an independent bookstore par excellence.

When a customer enters the store he is surrounded by books, not coffee and donuts. If she is looking for a book on a particular topic or in a certain genre, she need only ask one of several staff members. These employees have actually heard about and read books.  They even have favorite books, not just a shelf that says “favorites of the staff.”

If you want to test their knowledge of books, just ask them about one of your main stay authors. Not only will they know where his books are located, they will probably ask which of the author’s titles you have read and be able to compare those to other books by the same author which you haven’t read.

They also cater to local authors by featuring their books prominently and having them conduct book signings.

Daniel Wallace
Daniel Wallace

For instance, I am a fan of Daniel Wallace, the author of Big Fish and several other novels.

I picked up a copy of his newest book, The Kings and Queens of Roam, and flipped through it.  While I was doing so one of the book store staff stopped and said, “Have you met him?”

“Who?”

“Daniel Wallace.”

“No, but I love his books.”

“He’s really a nice guy.  He was in here with some friends once, and his friends ratted him out.  Daniel was just minding his own business, and they said, ‘That’s his book’.”

The Kings and Queens of Roan

Wow. Not only did I buy a book by an author I already loved, I found out that he was really a cool guy.

How can you beat that?

As anyone who reads my blogs knows, I am a huge proponent of the digital revolution. I love the access it gives authors to a world-wide market and the leveling of the playing field it provides.

But, oh how nice it is to walk in a bookstore and be surrounded not only by books but by other people who love them.

The person who figures out how to bring that sort of buying experience to digital books will have the world beat a trail to his door.

 

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