The brainchild of literary agent Kelly Sonnack, Save the Bookstores Day is a way to show our favorite brick & mortar stores that they still matter. That we support them. That we love them! That we CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT THEM!
I spoke with Kelly and three of her clients about this special day and how they plan to celebrate.
TL: Kelly, how did this holiday come to be?
KS: The Save the Bookstores event started one morning when, after reading about the obituaries of several indie bookstores in my publishing industry news, I got on Twitter and said that I was sick of hearing of these great stores closing and that there must be something I/we could do about it. I was met with immediate support when I suggested we pick a day and all go buy books together, across the nation, and the event was born from there.
Last year, we had a great response. The beauty of the event is that everyone can take the event and promote it as they see fit. Last year some book lovers took it upon themselves to print flyers and distribute them outside their favorite bookstore, in anticipation of the day. Others have blogged and emailed, Tweeted and Facebook’d. It’s been a unifying book lovers event so far and has reached to Asia and the UK (and probably more places I don’t even know about!)—it’s a simple way to support the books we love and the stores that sell them.
TL: What is your favorite childhood memory about books?
KS: One of my favorite childhood memories about books is the small library at the church we went to when I was a kid. It was nestled under a creaky staircase and chock-full of fabulous picture books. We were allowed to check out a book each, each week. But the choosing was the hardest part! I probably read 10 books before I picked which one I could take home with me.
TL: What is your hope for this new holiday? What is your ultimate goal?
KS: My ultimate goal is to save bookstores! I want to stop seeing postings of bookstores that haven’t been able to get high enough revenue to keep their doors open. It would be tragic to lose our brick and mortar stores; I want to remind people that their patronage really does make a difference. That we can keep stores in business by supporting them.
TL: And finally, what books will you be buying? What books do you recommend?
KS: The event is actually on my due date, so there’s a chance I’ll be phoning in my order to my favorite local bookstore instead of being able to browse the shelves for surprises and discoveries (hands down the best part about brick and mortar stores). If I get to browse, I’ll likely be browsing the board book section to see if there’s something I haven’t gotten for Baby Girl. But (aside from Bridget and James’ fabulous books, and Sharon’s which can be preordered), I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Jennifer Bosworth’s STRUCK, Michelle Hodkin’s THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER, Tom Angleberger’s FAKE MUSTACHE and I want to get a copy of HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA by Jean Reagan for my dad, who will soon be a new grandpa! As far as what I’d recommend to others, anyone who hasn’t gotten a copy of Anna Sheehan’s debut YA novel, A LONG, LONG SLEEP will be wisely spending their money on it. And Carolyn Marsden’s THE WHITE ZONE is a powerful read for anyone interested in the conflict in Afghanistan from a middle-grade perspective. For any new parents or friends of new parents, Heather Leigh’s HEY, LITTLE BABY is sure to become a family favorite. You can’t help but getting a little choked up by that one.
Thanks, Kelly! Three of your clients—Sharon, Bridget and James—want to weigh in, too. I asked them why bookstores are important to them. (Besides the obvious reason of selling their titles!)
My mother took me to the library like she took me to church—regularly, once a week, no excuses. The library was our haunt. But she could never understand why I would check out the same book over and over again, signing my name on the little card slipped into the slot attached to the back cover (remember when we did that?). My signature would be beneath my own signature, which was beneath my own again, and maybe four more times above that. My mother would look at the card containing mostly my name and say, “Okay. We’ll buy it.”
There was nothing more special. The library was a reading free-for-all, but going to the bookstore was all about picking out a treasure. I got to take my time, pick the book up, feel its weight, know if the cover was bumpy or slick, see the size of the type, hear how much noise a page made when it turned. And then that book was not just a borrowed thing to be returned, but mine, a friend for life. My copy of Johnny Tremain stayed with me for dozens of readings until its unfortunate death from a broken (overused!) spine. My paperback of Pride and Prejudice has worn to bend in any direction, fitting perfectly into my left hand.
That is why children—why all of us—need bookstores, and why I will be celebrating Save the Bookstores Day at Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN). An image on a sales screen is only an image. It cannot show us what is so easily experienced when we hold a book: the heft and feel of an author’s imagination.
Sharon Cameron is the author of THE DARK UNWINDING, coming September 2012 from Scholastic Press. Visit her website at SharonCameronBooks.com.
I have a quote hanging over my desk by Anton Ego from Ratatouille: “The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends.”
Bookstores are some of the first friends a book has, and that’s one reason I’m excited for my first bookstore book, MUSTACHE BABY, to come out next Spring. The neat thing is that readers want to befriend the new, too, and bookstores help us to do that. Bookstore workers have gotten my sons through many “I’ll never read again” moments that happen when you finish a series you love. They introduced us to Origami Yoda, Max (Bob Graham), The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, and so many books that, in a way, are part of our family.
I’m going to the Reading Reptile and the Plaza Barnes & Noble here in Kansas City, not as an appearance, but just to buy books.
Bridget Heos is the author of the non-fiction picture book series WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING (LARVAE, JOEYS, and other animals). She also writes YA non-fiction. Follow all her insects and antics at AuthorBridgetHeos.com.
I think there’s something magical about walking into a bookstore and discovering a new book. A book that I’ve never seen or heard of before but I see the cover and it intrigues me. I pick it up, I look inside and I know that I have to own this book.
If I didn’t have a bookstore to go to I’d probably just be wondering the streets, lost, searching for that magical connection.
James Burks is the author of GABBY AND GATOR, BEEP AND BAH, and the upcoming BIRD AND SQUIRREL graphic novel. He is the illustrator of Tara Lazar’s THE MONSTORE, too! Check out this character and all his characters at JamesBurks.com.
If you want to help SAVE BOOKSTORES, please join the Facebook Group! Tell us where you’ll be shopping on June 16th and what you’ll be buying!
And please SPREAD THE WORD! Share the adorable poster on your social networks, blog about it, tell your teachers, organize a caravan to your local indie! Do your part to keep bookstores in business and bringing us great reads!
Thank you Kelly, Sharon, Bridget & James!