So the bookstore that I've worked at for the last nine years is shutting its doors after years of missteps and missed opportunities. Folks have come in lamenting the store's demise due to the rise of ebooks. Others blame the economy. Publishers are already feeling the impact of lost sales as the literal number venues available for their hard-copy product shrinks dramatically. We are in the midst of a sea-change in how people will procure and consume literature in all forms.
As a bookseller, I'm in mourning. As an author, at first, I was fairly well freaking out that a gigantic arena to showcase books is going down in flames. However, I've come to realize that with the loss of the way we are used to doing business, per se, comes new worlds and new opportunities. I have a feeling that small, niche bookstores are going to find their place in the book biz once again. And yes, ebooks and ereaders are going to take center stage and stay there. People will still read...be it a real book, newspaper, or magazine or an electronic version of the same.
Cautious optimism. That's where I am right now. While I'm still floundering between disbelief and horror at the loss of my beloved bookstore, I'm seeing the changing landscape... and that landscape is really not all that bad. A few months ago, I had the words "Never Surrender" tattooed on my leg. It's a good reminder that we as writers can never quit. We can't ever quit sharing our ideas, challenging ourselves and our readers. Readers need us, bookstores or not. We are their escape, their diversion, their reason to smile and laugh or even cry. It's a symbiotic relationship. We need them so we can share the crazy stories racing around our heads.
As my grandmother always used to tell me, "Honey, it's going to be okay. You just remember: never surrender." Right on, Grandma. You were always on the money, and I'm counting on you once again. And if anyone can tell me why I have these huge spaces within this post, I'd love to be able to finally do this thing right.