I’ve seen many “Buy Local” type movements crop up in recent years, including Small Business Saturday this past weekend. The reasoning behind these events and campaigns is that strong local businesses form a foundation for a strong economy. They also know local markets better. Both of these statements are true.
It is also true that vibrant towns have a mix if employers: Local, regional and national. I don’t buy the “big companies are evil” mantra. They are a vital part of our economy. Nor does supporting local business mean blindly doing so. You can’t sell a product significantly higher than the Big Store down the road and expect people to just buy yours just for local sake. You still have to compete. Contrary to popular belief, Wal-Mart doesn’t have everything.
Having wrote all that, independent booksellers are making a comeback in some areas. In spite of the rise of ebooks, there is still a market for paper books. The collapse of Borders left a huge hole in many places for book lovers. Indie bookstores can order any book you want, but they also can supply what you have never seen before. Often local authors, indie presses and other books under the national radar. No matter how well-connected I am on-line with books, I’m constantly surprised by what I find browsing bookstores.
It’s the best of both worlds.
I spend a lot of time in Barnes & Noble and have been ordering from Amazon since before people realized it wasn’t a rainforest. Whenever I can find a small bookstore, however, I check it out and see if it warrants support. Or I spend time wishing someone would open one.
A local bookstore can be a focal point of your town. Seek them out and give them a visit. You never know what treasure you may find.