Tuesday, January 01, 2008
According to an article posted May 15, 2006 in Slate Magazine, the independent bookstore is going the way of 8-track tapes, vinyl records and polio. I hope not! Anyway, here's a link to the article. In it, Tyler Cowen remarks on Laura J. Miller's book Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption. Cowen claims Miller "wishes to make the bookstore into a political arena." But, as Cowen points out, we have the internet now and with that we have on-demand publishing, blogs, reader reviews at sites such as Amazon, and of course eBay. Non-partisan freedom of speech is alive and well because even people living in poverty can access the internet and create a blog and more. So why would anyone want to start a bookstore now? Who would want to compete with Barnes & Noble or Amazon? When I started The Birthdays of Poets Bookstore, I was not intending to compete with any corporate giants. Clearly, people are shopping online and what do you think the future holds? More shopping online or less? Right. The online market is a big pie and I want a slice. But there's more to it than that. All over the United States, universities have creative writing programs. Teachers teach in MFA programs and students write and study in MFA programs. They want to use books in their educational process. This is the community I am interested in serving with The Birthdays of Poets Bookstore. This community includes more than teachers and students. My hope is that anyone interested in poetry will enjoy browsing and buying at The Birthdays of Poets Bookstore.