Thursday, March 26, 2009

Independent Bookstores

Yesterday, I took a trip* to my favorite independent bookstore, BookHampton in Southampton, NY. (There are a lot of cutesy shop names like that out here--BikeHampton, PetHampton, ArtHampton. EnoughalreadywiththehamptonHampton.)

The thing that is simultaneously nice and frustrating about the Hampton villages is that the zoning laws prohibit most big box stores, so you won't see Home Depot, or Linens and Things, or even much by way of fast food (although there is a KMart tucked away in Bridgehampton.) It's lovely because the small town atmosphere is more or less preserved, except for August then all the city idiots are out. ...Oh hey, that's me. 

Frustrating because it's not so easy to run out and buy things. But what it *does* mean is that BookHampton gets quite a bit of traffic, since there is no Borders and Amazon takes a few days to deliver. Luckily, BookHampton has a great selection. They even carry literary magazines, which makes me happy.

Still, I'm sure they are feeling the publishing downturn just like any other store. I noticed a promotion yesterday: bring in any 2008/09 hardcover and get $5 off a new book. I asked how it was going -- pretty well! They had a big stack of books. I assume they will donate those somewhere and get a tax write off. I thought that was a clever idea. They also have a "frequent buyer" card kind of like Starbucks used to do. 

Anyway, maybe it was just some small thing, but I like to see these stores taking steps to boost business. I frequent a couple of other independent bookstores and I haven't seen much of an effort there. In fact, one of them *only* carries full-price hardcovers, much to my annoyance. Even for children's books. I mean, I get it, they only have so much space and they want to make as much money as they can. But still. I'm kinda cheap.

Tell me about your favorite bookstore? Do you buy most of your books there?

*Yes, my children are STILL on spring vacation. Oh Monday, will you ever come?


Debra Lynn Shelton said...

Wendy, I'm glad you explained the "still on vacation" part. Otherwise, I was thinking, "OK first she gets a kickass agent, then she goes to Hawaii, then she goes to the Hamptons..." I'm simply going to have to kill her. That's how my mind's working these days, since I'm smack dab in the middle of my suburban murder mystery. My husband better watch his steps...

I have to admit Chuck and I are Border's junkies. We go nearly every weekend, browse, buy (yeah, baby!), and drink Seattle's Best soy chai tea lattes. Nirvana can't look any better.;-)

WendyCinNYC said...

Let me tell you, there is nothing, but NOTHING going on in the Hamptons right now. We are visiting my parents.

They have been babysitting while I write, so I'm most grateful!

Janna Leadbetter said...

That's an amazing spring vacation! I just found out my daughter only gets the Friday and Monday surrounding Easter. What's the deal?

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love supporting indie booksellers!

There's Osondu Booksellers (where I'm having my first booksigning) in Waynesville, NC

Then Malaprops in Asheville, NC

City Lights in Silva, NC

Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville


Dominique said...

I hate the idea that a lot of the indie book stores in the Detroit area are no more. The one closest to me is a place called Shaman Drum in Ann Arbor, Michigan (home to University of Michigan and about an hour from me). I know he's struggling these days because many more university students are purchasing books online to save money.
We try to get out there at least once or twice a year because the store has all sorts of fab biographies, art books, classics, etc. that I don't see elsewhere.