Bookstores and the Graveyard

Clay Shirky posted today an interesting ramble around the plight of local bookstores. Here’s his most telling point.

The local bookstore creates all kinds of value for its community, whether its hosting community bulletin boards, putting rocking chairs in the kids section, hosting book readings… value separate from its existence as a transactional warehouse for books.

Combined with the most familiar point about bookstores – that Amazon is in many ways a superior transactional warehouse – this frames the all-too-familiar problem for bookstores. It also sees Clay on his way to suggesting ways of monetizing the actual value created by bookstores.

In other bookish news, I actually went into my local bookstore and bought a couple of books. One of them was Ivy & Bean Break the Fossil Record (Ivy & Bean, Book 3). We bought the first Ivy and Bean book for Maddie on the recommendation of one of the store owners. She’s loving the series. Max also got a book, and likes to play in the kids’ area of the store. So good for Village Books.

Yes I did just link to Amazon in the middle of a paragraph praising a local bookstore. I also paid with an Amazon credit card. Perhaps I’m not the best champion of local bookstores.

Neil Gaiman is certainly a better champion than me, as you can see from his account of judging the Graveyard Book Halloween Party Contest. Perhaps bookstores need more parties.