15 January 08 | Chad W. Post

It’s nice to see independent booksellers stand up for themselves and the health of their business. In the Seattle Times there’s a nice letter from JB Dickey, owner of the Seattle Mystery Bookshop in Seattle, regarding the closure of M Coy Books:

While I was sorry to read the article in the Jan. 5 Seattle Times that M Coy Books will be closing, I was disturbed by the tone. The local media are quick to mark the demise of an independent bookshop and say once again how it is nearly impossible for a small independent to survive. Difficult, sure. But not impossible. [. . .]

After illustrating the growth of the store, and pointing out that 2007 was its best year ever, Dickey goes on to slam the media:

If you want to know how independent booksellers really are doing, come ask us. Reacting to the closing of one bookshop by saying it is another death-knell of an industry simply isn’t fair or correct and can be counterproductive. It can also mislead customers and drive more into the hands of the corporate Big Boxes, encouraging the difficulties that small independents face. Why not do a story about how some independents are doing fine because of their customers who want to support small businesses? Isn’t there a story in that?

It’s tough not lament the current climate when stores like Coliseum or Gotham shut down, but in general, I agree that the great indie booksellers should be praised and applauded. People like Karl Pohrt, Rick Simonson, Sarah McNally, the list could go on and on. These stores are incredibly important to literary publishers, and deserve way more attention than they receive.

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