Right now, I’m at RWA completely out of my element. I don’t know the books everyone talks about. I don’t know the authors. I’m even unfamiliar with some of the conventions used in crafting their work.
And yet, I’m still somehow very much at home.
I am surrounded by people who love books. They may love books that are different from the ones I love (not very many people here are familiar with Diana Wynne Jones), but they love books. And that’s all that matters.
That got me thinking about those places where we get books. As you get reminded at a conference like this, the publishing industry and the way books go to market has changed a lot in recent years. It’s even changed since I started blogging way back when on my little blogger account. Nowadays, you can buy books online from huge sites, from niche sites, or even “rent” them from private online libraries. You can walk into a big box store and find discounted best sellers or visit a traditional brick and mortar bookstore. And let’s not forget used books. It’s now easier than ever to find that out of print book from childhood that used to live only in our memories.
And we could sit here and debate what model is best for authors or publishers or the industry as a whole, but I would argue that all of them in all of their incarnations are good for one person. Me. The Reader.
And that makes me love all bookstores in all of their forms. I love the depth of online stores and their ability to carry just about everything. I love the indies and their dedicated booksellers who can talk books with me for (what feels like) hours on end. I love the national and regional chains where I know what to expect when I step in their stores (because, yes, familiarity can be comforting). And I love the used books shops where I can rediscover books that might otherwise have been consigned to the trash.
There may not be a place in the market for every single bookstore ever opened, but there is a place for them in my heart. One of my goals while I’m here in New York is to visit several bookstores, and I’ll be posting them on my Facebook page. Let me know some of your favorite bookstores so we can start a list of some of the best places to buy books.