I want to talk to you a minute about your bookstore.
Yes, you. You know that place you go on this very machine youâ€™re looking at right now, where you click sideways and youâ€™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 youâ€™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 motherâ€™s birthday next week and in the process pick up the book thatâ€™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, Iâ€™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, CALIFIAâ€™S DAUGHTERS (by â€œLeigh Richardsâ€) on their bestseller list pretty much every month since the book was published going on three years ago. Thatâ€™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, â€œSo, whatâ€™s good?â€ 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 itâ€™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 Iâ€™m going to say it anyway): The only way JB and the rest can indulge your need to read Dana Stabenowâ€™s recipe for truffle pasta or Harley Jane Kozakâ€™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, theyâ€™re pretty generous-minded.
Theyâ€™re in it for the love, yes, but that roof over the books costs money.