Monday, April 27, 2009

Obligation to Support Local Bookstores?

Marc Fisher at the Washington Post talks about our obligation, if any, to support local bookstores. Fisher ends his essay with a poll asking: "What's your obligation as a customer to support local bookstores?" Here are the results so far:
  • 12% say: "None--they either win me over on price and service or they deserve to die"
  • 43% say: "Some--if they create an enriching place, I'll pay somewhat higher prices to support them"
  • 31% say: "Serious--great local bookshops are foundations of community, well worth the price to keep alive"
  • 11% say: "Don't know--locally-owned bookstores already vanished from where I live"
I fall somewhere between the "some" and "serious" camps. I do believe great local bookstores are worth saving, but not every local bookstore is great.


Steve said...

I'm a pretty easy doesn't take much to get me into b--, come back to your store (in this case, bookstore). If I like your store, if you don't insult your customers or their intelligence ("glittering prizes and endless compromises")...then I am coming back.
Price matters, but I don't mind paying a little more to keep a store I like in business.
If someone says to me, you know, at "Wally's Big Save Big Box We Love Our Customers but Don't know Anything About Books Store, you could've gotten that cheaper".
Yes, but I LIKE my store, so I'm going there, thank you.

An Anonymous Child said...

I think you really nailed it with that last sentence. Yes, some local bookstores are kind, helpful and provide me with a nice environment even as their prices are slightly higher. Still, I've encountered enough not-amazing local stores to know that I might ultimately prefer a cheaper, more convenient alternative. It really depends on the situation.