Monday, November 30, 2015

Independent Bookstores : A Parent’s Best Friend

Tom Burns' article almost reads like a love letter to bookstores.


Indie bookstores — independent, brick-and-mortar bookstores — make life easier for parents.

Don’t believe me? I get it. On the surface, shopping for books online looks incredibly simple.

If you tell me “Hey, pick one book out of this pile of 80 million books,” I will freeze up. It’s too much. All of those books, without a lick of perspective or direction, it’s like white noise. I can’t see the forest for the trees.

If you think that sounds bad for an adult, think of how hard it can be with a child. When your kid wants to know what they should read next and you present them with 80 million options, yeah, nothing is getting read that day.

We need a filter. We need help sorting through the static. We need people — people we trust — to take a look at those 80 million results and point out five or six really, really good ones.

Independent bookstores are EXCELLENT at pointing out the really, really good ones.

Yes, when you walk into an indie bookstore, they are not going to have every book that could ever cross your mind. Instead, they’ll have the books that SHOULD be crossing your mind. Because of their limited space, bookstores carefully curate their stock like librarians, making sure that they’re serving their customers by putting together the best, the coolest, the most thoughtful, original collection of books that could ever fit on their shelves and display cases.

When your kid walks into the children’s section of a great independent bookstore, imagine that they are walking into the most lovingly assembled search results page ever. Everything that surrounds them is page one results. Nothing was chosen by an algorithm. They’re not recommending THIS because you once bought THAT.

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