Musings in March
What a strange morning. Started off with emails back and forth with a friend who lives in the States to make arrangements to get together when they are in Toronto next month. Then a dash to make arrangements to be in Toronto to attend March Hare at the Gladstone this Friday evening with Lisa Moore and others celebrating Newfoundland. Feeling full of anticipation for a lovely evening with friends.
Then looking through a binder I prepared as a staff manual some years ago. I thought I’d use it to help in training a new staff member this afternoon. Along with instructions on using our computer programs and other directions, I found sections about long ago book awards – 2003 the last pages added. And a section of magazine and newspaper articles about the book business from the same time period. What was most disturbing is that most of the bookstores profiled are no longer in business. These were articles about how to help your store weather the onslaught of the big box stores – we hadn’t even started to really worry about Amazon.
I have watched my sales plummet in the past ten years and wonder how on earth to combat the effect of Amazon especially – along with all of the other huge businesses that have added books to their stock, often priced at less than my cost from publishers. And frankly I have a hard time “blaming” my customers for buying their books for as little as possible – a book is a book is a book. So, the books I recommend to the readers of my newspaper and online reviews can be purchased in many other places – and my sales decrease and decrease and decrease.
That being said I still believe in Parry Sound Books. And I know that many others do as well. Customers from Bracebridge come in – they don’t have a bookstore there anymore – they happily browse the shelves, enjoy the pleasure of being here, and make a purchase. There are many others, year round and seasonal customers, who do the same. There is pleasure to be had for many of us as we look through the shelves for something familiar, or new, to read. There is pleasure in talking about books and authors as we share the importance that literature has in our lives.
So, as we all strive to get through the rest of this endless winter think about Parry Sound Books and know that your visit, and the purchase of even one book, keeps this business in business, and makes it possible for us to work at what we know and love as we continue to serve our community.
Friday 7 March 2014