Scott Sparling

Hallucinations, a blog about writing, trains, and Wire to Wire

Viewing Entries From: July 2011

Why Indie Bookstores Rule

Posted on Jul 2nd, 2011

This weekend, you could celebrate independence by lighting a firecracker. Or you could go to an Indie Bookstore and buy a book. Or both, actually – it’s not an either/or choice.

One reason indie bookstores rule is economics—money you spend in local stores tends to stay in your community. And supporting local booksellers is an excellent source of good karma and may also improve your sex life. 

Plus, it's very likely you’ll find some great books that the major chains might not carry. Such as, well, Wire to Wire.

Some specifics: Last week, a big stack of books went out the door after my reading at Powell’s Books. (Thanks, all!) The Multnomah Country library has 50-plus holds on Wire to Wire. The Oregonian ran a prominent and very positive review at the end of June. Independent bookstores all over the country are carrying it. But you can’t buy the book at the Borders in the town near where I live.

And it’s not the fault of the local Borders—they’d like to carry it. But that decision is made at corporate HQ in some distant, unknown city where faceless…wait a sec, Borders’ HQ is in Ann Arbor, Michigan! Hey, Borders—Michigan native here, story set in the Wolverine state, founder of the Segerfile. Hello??

But the point is not to beat up on Borders or the other national stores. I’m sure an economist would say that they play an important role, because economists will say anything once you get them liquored up with a little cash. Okay, wait – the point is that freedom without books might be impossible, and the best source of those books is the independent bookstore near you. So find one, and celebrate the Fourth by buying a book. Mine if you want, or any other.

And maybe skip the M-80s. You’re gonna need those fingers for turning pages


UPDATE: August 29, 2011

Well, obviously Border's decision not to stock my book had disastrous consequences for them. And while they were going under, I was going around the Northwest and my home state of Michigan visiting some indie bookstores that are very much alive. Here are a few photos from some of the book stores.


Powell's Books in Portland, OR and Elliott Bay Bookstore in Seattle, WA


Schulers Books in Okemos, MI, Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, MI, and Horizon Books in Traverse City, MI


Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA; The Book Store, Frankfort, MI, with Jesse Burkhardt


Third Street Books in McMinnville, OR; Village Books in Bellingham, WA







It's the Fourth of July: I wanna hear a little revolution out there. The MC5, “Ramblin’ Rose.”