Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, November 30, 2012

Goodbye to Another Independent Bookstore - Do We Blame Amazon?

Yesterday, I was saddened to learn that Twice Told Tales, an independent bookstore in Gloucester VA, is going out of business. Stores like this have been supportive of local authors who are not well-known like the New York Times bestsellers or those published by the large New York publishing houses. They have been good places for friendly book signings where authors become known to local readers. However, these stores have struggled for a long time now.

Monti (left) at Nov. 2011 book signing, Twice Told Tales
Do we blame Amazon for these struggles? Is it because of the Kindles?

Probably, yes and no.

Since my first novel, Hearts Across Forever, was released by Oak Tree in 2001, the publishing world has been changing. Maybe I noticed it more because soon after my book came out, 9/11 happened. That caused the cancellation of one of my first signings.

From that time on, the presence of independent bookstores appeared to decline. For a while, Twice Told Tales had stores in three communities, then it shrunk to one. The Waldenbooks I especially liked went from many locations to just a few. My favorite in Hilton Head, SC closed. The story of the many closings goes on and on.

In the meantime, was growing. Then, it really took off. Last night, I watched the Brian Williams Rock Center TV program and was amazed by the enormous size of the Amazon fulfillment center they were visiting. The size of 28 football fields, the reporter Harry Smith said. That's big enough, but it's also three stories high. That's mind-boggling. There are 40 of these fulfillment centers throughout the country. That's even more mind-boggling. Amazon tries to stock everything they can get their hands on, Smith said.

The Amazon giant is overwhelming. No little store can compete.

We all like sitting in front of our computers where it's comfortable and ordering whatever we need or want. But it's also comfortable being in a neighborhood bookstore meeting the people who read your books.

Sorry to see you leave us, Twice Told Tales. Thank you, Nancy Halstead, for bringing your smile to Gloucester.

(Santa will be at Twice Told Tales on Saturday, December 1 in celebration of the Christmas parade.)

--Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think eBooks have a lot to do with it as well.

Judy said...

Makes me think if "You've Got Mail" :( I agree with Alex, though. eBooks, for sure, contribute to this sad situation.

Monti said...

Yes, e-books, Alex. Still, it's really nice to sometimes connect with people in person.

Monti said...

The Internet has hurt the post office as well as the indy bookstores. Interesting the postmaster general said they are doing well with packages. Yay!

Thanks for commenting, Judy!

Chuck said...

I have to admit I always liked going into Walden books during their heyday...and now I am almost 100% Kindle Fire. Book stores always smelled so great, sad to see the small ones go.

Monti said...

Thanks for your visit, Chuck!

Donna Hosie said...

Everything changes. It is sad to see little family run bookstores close; it is sad to see any bookstore close, but times are hard. I love to read, and I can buy three or four ebooks for the price of a paper version. I still love my books, but I tend to buy mostly ebooks now.

Monti said...

Donna, sometimes a book cries out to be on paper. I believe Daddy's Christmas Angel is one of those books. Thanks for commenting.