Choosing independent businesses and local financial institutions is a great idea. But a purely consumer-oriented response won't get us where we need to go, in part because it fails to fully grapple with how we got here in the first place.
The writing had been on the wall, though Yolanda Stratter, who says she has read more than 10,000 books, refused to read it. The time to get out of the used book and music retail business had come, gone, and come again.
Before there were video games and the internet, there were books. Ask a baby boomer what it was like growing up and you'll hear about all of the wonderful outdoors and the magic that a good book has on the imagination.
And so ensued the ethical debate: support The Strand and pay a whopping $10 more for the book, or save the $10 and order the same book online, further hastening the imminent demise of great bookstores like the very one I was standing in?
The Atria Mystery Bus tour took off April 12th. I think that what made the strongest impression on me was much we all love books. The authors on the tour. The amazing booksellers who hosted us. And the readers who came out to see us.
Who am I to think that my novel is good enough to be published? Am I now as pathetic as those street poets I used to see in Berkeley, peddling their sappy, mistake-laden chapbooks for a dollar a copy? And how the hell does a writer act as her own publicist?
If every LGBT bookstore in the world is set to fade, who will proudly stock our queer, oftentimes "unpublishable" stories? Who will help us validate our fight against mainstream censorship? What will be our gayborhoods' living rooms? Amazon.com certainly won't.
Years ago, back in the early eighties after reading too much Henry Miller to do a woman any good, I found myself in Paris, squatting in an old and dusty room above the legendary booksellers, Shakespeare & Company.