WE FEW, WE PROUD
Rallying the troops: I think saving this bookstore should be taken seriously ["Band of Bookstores," Aimee Levitt]! Small businesses are the backbone of the city. We should talk about research grants, low-interest loans and other such options. If anyone has suggestions or real solutions, please share.
Bowen1977, via the Internet
A modest suggestion: Never buy a book again from a chain. What is so hard about that?
Bill Hannegan, via the Internet
We've all done it: This was an excellent, informative article and an effective rallying call for those of us who talk the talk of supporting local businesses and loving indie bookstores. I like their efforts to mobilize and band together (and the RFT's idea for a cover that played off of the iconic Band of Brothers image).
Er, but that's not to say I haven't bought used books on Amazon or new books from Borders, either.
Winnie, via the Internet
The closing of the American mind: I have some honest constructive criticism for Left Bank Books. I'm politically conservative and I read a lot (and I buy a lot of books). Now, before the scowls come out, don't make the assumption that I'm some kind of hate- mongering rube — that template is just another tired old form of prejudice that needs to go.
There were a lot of good books at Left Bank, but the political section was horribly skewed to the left. I was looking for a few big-name books written by conservative authors that were selling huge at the time, nationwide — yet were completely absent from the shelves there.I may be going out on a limb, but I think you have your noses in the air just a little and give off an impression of looking down on those on the other side of the aisle. I had cash in hand ready to spend, but since the product wasn't there, I had to take my business to Borders.
I saw some petition on your counter complaining about "whitewashing"— the under-representation of "people of color" on magazine covers. I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs about the lack of diversity of thought in your book selection. It was laughable.
I don't want you guys to fail. I want you to succeed. Part of that success is going to be whether you want the hard-earned money of people like me.
I think, if you really want to capture market-share, you have to take a look in the mirror and decide to offer a selection of books that is more welcoming to those outside of your own political milieu. I used to be a twenty-something slacker working in a record store, scoffing like those guys in High Fidelity whenever somebody would come in looking for something lame. I realize now that those "schmucks" spent a lot more money than the kid who had good taste in tunes — but was going to either buy used CDs or download everything for free.
The thing about conservatives is that, like it or not, we are hard-working and have money to spend.
When we go into Borders and see that the smart-ass people working there have snarkily hidden Sarah Palin's book in the fiction section or have filed George W. Bush's book in True Crime, we make a mental note of that nastiness — but it's a chain. What do the hourly people at Borders care whether they sell more books? They're not personally invested. You guys can go in the other direction and present these books, along with the stuff more akin your own beliefs, and let the readers make their own selections.
I like going into a more intimate, independent bookstore where my ears aren't bludgeoned by James Blunt piping through the speakers (lame) and where the environment is a little more cozy and relaxing — a place where I could get lost for a few hours. I want to go where I feel like my business is wanted and where I feel like my beliefs are treated with some modicum of respect.
Reach out to us a little. We're out here.
Guest, via the Internet