beckycochrane [userpic]

The Witch is Back

February 8th, 2011 (01:49 pm)

I'm not talking about me! Although there is a "real" poem coming later today, unlike yesterday's just-before-midnight cry of computer-and-phone-induced frustration.

I'm referring to Tammy Jo Trask, the former pastry chef/now reluctant witch in writer Kimberly Frost's Southern Witch series. On Saturday, I was at Murder By the Book for Kimberly's signing and to pick up the third in the series, the brand new Halfway Hexed. I'm looking forward to seeing what dark forces Tammy Jo and her sidekick, Mercutio the Ocelot, are battling in small-town Duvall, Texas.

Kimberly Frost signing copies of her new novel for a full house of readers at Murder By the Book.

It was also great to see John at the store. Recently, I was following comments he made to someone's blog in which the blogger was basically saying good riddance to the Borders bookstore in her city. John said, and I agree, that the demise of any bookstore is sad news. As a consumer and an author, I think what really makes the difference in a good bookstore is the passion of its staff. I've been in chain stores where I, with or without my writing partners, have been welcomed with enthusiasm and wishes for success. There have been booksellers in chains who've kept our books stocked and aggressively promoted them, and that kind of commitment is a huge asset to an author.

While I love independent stores with their knowledgeable booksellers who offer personalized attention in a cozy environment, chain stores can offer a similar experience if they aren't being mismanaged from the top. Though a corporate office may be in a remote city, a bookstore pays taxes and a building lease where it's located. It employs local people. It serves the community not only by the books it sells, but as a gathering place. Just as I once wrote in our wonderful indie, Crossroads, I've written in the coffeeshops of Borders and Barnes and Noble, surrounded by other writers and students, seniors and courting couples, young mothers and laid back teens. I've seen book groups meet in them. I've met authors at signings and readings in towns where there are no indies.

So no, I can't say good riddance to any bookstore, whether it's the Waldenbooks in the mall, the Borders in the shopping center, the Books A Million next to the highway. Because we will never get from Amazon or Walmart or the rack at the grocery store what we got from them.

And I'm in agreement with a lot of other people who now own Nooks and Kindles and Kobos or other eReaders. They are a convenience. My Nook enables me to have a lot of books that I probably wouldn't have bought because I just don't have the shelf space or the money. I have immediate access to writers' works that I probably wouldn't have found on the shelves in the bookstore--backlist, out of print, earlier books in a series. BUT--what most of us also say is that we're still buying actual books. We still enjoy the heft, the scent of new pages, the appeal of a good cover. I was reminded of that, too, and of the pleasure of getting a book signed by its creator when I went to Murder By the Book on Saturday.

So rock on, bookstores, booksellers, authors, readers, libraries and librarians. We're all part of a community of book lovers.


If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

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