Environ/mental action

I want to talk to you a minute about your bookstore.

Yes, you. You know that place you go on this very machine you’re looking at right now, where you click sideways and you’re either at a river in Brazil or among a whole lot of really strong women (tastes may vary) and you decide you want a book? Yeah, that place.

Or say you’re driving by the mall and you have twenty minutes before you need to pick up The Kid so you drop in to that enormous supermarket of books and get a latte and an umbrella and a cute set of refrigerator magnets for your mother’s birthday next week and in the process pick up the book that’s stacked so high near the register it practically falls into your shopping basket, you know, THAT bookstore.

I just wanted to have a word with you about environmental responsibility. No, not the hairspray and SUV type that is threatening to kill off 30 percent of animal species in the next five minutes, but the kind that is having a similar devastating effect on our city streets.

The Seattle Mystery Bookstore is just one of an endangered species, small independents. SMB lives on a nice sloping street in Seattle, not far from Pioneer Square, and they love books. Oh, I’m sure a lot of the people at The A Place and The B Place and The B&N Place love books, too, but the folk at Seattle Mystery really, really love their books.

Of course, I have a special place in my heart for these folk for a lot of reasons, but notable among them is because they have kept my sci-fi oddity, CALIFIA’S DAUGHTERS (by “Leigh Richards”) on their bestseller list pretty much every month since the book was published going on three years ago. That’s right, August, 2004. For thirty-two months, JB and Bill and Fran, and all of them have been putting a copy of that book into the hands of every customer who asks, “So, what’s good?” So that last year, two years after it was published, CALIFIA shared number five on their bestseller list.

A sci-fi title, in a mystery bookstore.

But it’s not just my own loyalty speaking here. Seattle Mystery recently started a blog that functions as a guest book, where authors in the store for a signing write a Hi There! and post it. Take a look, it will give you an idea of what independent mystery bookstores are all about.

And it goes without saying (although as you see I’m going to say it anyway): The only way JB and the rest can indulge your need to read Dana Stabenow’s recipe for truffle pasta or Harley Jane Kozak’s remarks on cookies or a whole bunch of writers commenting on jet lag is IF YOU BUY BOOKS FROM THEM. Them or another independent, they’re pretty generous-minded.

They’re in it for the love, yes, but that roof over the books costs money.

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  1. delia on April 8, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I am ignorant. Can you buy books from these small “independent” book stores on line? I am a baby when it comes to the working of these things, but I would certainly be willing to buy from any of these stores on line. What’s the e-address? Or have I already been informed in the posting and just don’t get it? Sigh. Lead me through it chapter and verse!

  2. KLP (Knitting Library Person) on April 8, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    The link under “blog”, in this sentence: “Seattle Mystery recently started a blog” is dead. Could you post the URL? (Or fix the link?)

  3. Anonymous on April 8, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Laurie, lofe your books! Hi Delia, yes, you certainly CAN buy from many independent book sellers online. http://www.tatteredcover.com is the largest in the country, located in Denver, Colorado, and the owner is always fighting the good fight against whomsoever is trying to undermine our right to access information. What really makes me mad is folks that do the research thing by going to the local independents to drink tea and look over books, but then go buy from the A word! I suggest doing the opposite, research the books at the A place, then BUY from your local independent bookseller. If they don’t have a website, you can always call them and since you did your research already, you will have the ISBN number to make ordering really easy! Christina

  4. Anonymous on April 12, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    If you are in Ediburgh Scotland or near Edinburgh can I please recommend WordPower Books on Nichoson St? http://www.word-power.co.uk/

    What I do is get the ISBN from Amazon and then order from Elaine. She’s just as quick even from the US and has a great selection of unusual magazines and postcards when I go and pick up the book to choose from as well.

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