I was back down in the Bay Area this week–book club in Clayton, prose critique group in Walnut Creek and grandkids in SF. While waiting to pick up my granddaughter Matilda at Grattan Elementary, I took a detour to The Booksmith on Haight. It’s no wonder this independent bookstore is ranked with the very best. Their selection of titles is broad, yet wonderfully selective. Especially grand are the pithy book blurbs penned by staff members. The atmosphere is just what the browsing reader will come in for and exactly why Booksmith has built a cadre of readers who support the store.

And the point? Well, I’m trying to figure out a way to encourage more readers to support their local stores. It’s not news that Amazon will almost always beat the independents on price, and in this present economy, price is important. And yes, the IndiBound button to find your local store from my website is clumsy at best, and as an affiliate/partner, my percentage from Amazon is better than IndieBound, but supporting your local business people is just as important as price. So why not try this: the next time you go to buy your third book from Amazon, pause for a second, then bite the dollar bullet and buy that third book from your independent store. And why not promise, when the economy improves, you’ll reverse the above and make it 2 for Indies and 1 for A?

The other suggestion is that if you find yourself in an independent bookstore, your own local store or one you might visit while on the road, buy a book. Practicing what one preaches is often easier said than done, but at Booksmith I picked up a copy of Linda Pastan’s latest book of poetry, Traveling Light, and only had to think once or twice before pulling out the plastic. By the time I read the first stanza of the poem, Anatomy: In the tenement/of the body/generations have left/their mark, I knew it was money well-spent. Ah, the economics of poetry and the world.

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