The Little Bookstore that Hopefully Could…:
I was sitting in a meeting the other day where I met this absolutely wonderful girl Puppett! While the topic of our meeting is a story for another time it did bring me to this post. You see I found out Puppett and I had more in common than even I thought going into this meeting. I knew ahead of time that she was a lesbian and was very active in the LGBT*Q community, what I didn’t know was that she also shared my love of books! Oh my yes!!!!! Someone else who is as addicted to the written word as I am…FANTASTIC!
Well, in our talk I learned that she has the most fascinating project going on that really got me thinking. I’m going to just let her tell you a little bit about her project and then I’ll move onto where it got me thinking later.
So as per Puppett’s email to me…
“This all began when we tried to buy the oldest running gay and lesbian bookstore in the country, which was Giovanni’s Room, when it was up for sale last Fall. The owner shut the store down but we decided our reasons for trying to keep the store going were important enough to warrant starting a new place altogether. So we’ve moved forward and have been hosting author readings at the local LGBT community center as well as scheduling pop-up shops. We are negotiating a lease in South Philly (and if all goes well that’ll be settled this coming month). We have just been offered super discounted café equipment from my friend in NYC. And things are moving forward, we just need help getting the word out. And we do need some additional funds.”
Info about them: www.queerbooksphilly.com
Indiegogo Campaign: igg.me/at/drinkreadlove
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/qbooksphilly
Twitter: @Queer_Books (and you can also #drinkreadlove if there’s room but that’s not a big deal)
First of all I have to say I think this is a wonderful project and deserves all the help it can get! Physical bookstores are a dying breed, especially the small independent places, but more than that this is the sort of place that gives all those books we all adore to read a real home. I’ve often wondered how easy it is to find any of the MM Romance books I read so regularly in my local bookstores. I mean really, how many of those titles does Barnes & Noble actually carry in a physical paperback on the shelves? I certainly couldn’t tell you.
Which brings me to the big thought I had in all this…in the end does my love of ebooks ultimately mean the destruction of little places like this that I truly love as well???
For years I was always adamant that if given a choice I preferred my paperbacks. I have over a thousand physical books and there is still something to be said for holding that paper in your hand. But in the last year or so I’ve found myself buying more and more ebooks, and to my biggest shame the only physical copy of a MM Romance I own was a gift I won in the MM Romance Group’s Anniversary Celebration last year.
We all know how easy the Kindle or really any eBook reader is. One click and the book is on its way. There’s no waiting. There’s no need to leave your house. The book you’re dreaming of is instantly there for your consumption. But as nice as that is I think it does mean the loss of some things as well. I remember as a kid when I would head down to the library to pick out my ginormous stack of books (I don’t think I ever came home with less than 15 books.) part of the fun was always chatting with whomever else was there. Finding out about what they’re reading, socializing with the other kids, spending time with like-minded people. Granted that’s not a bookstore, but I think they serve the same purpose, especially the small local bookstores not the huge megastores. They’re about the families and people who rely on them for the community aspects not just the books they can find there. I grew up in a town too small to really have much in the way of a bookstore, but the library was that hub for readers. So much of that community has since moved online. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. I adore Goodreads and the community it’s established, but I do regret how much we as a culture are separating from other people. I know there are days where if I didn’t go to work I would see another soul and I live in one of the largest cities in this country.
I know from talking to Puppett part of what they want to do is to be able to establish that community connection again. To give people a place to go, to be with like-minded people. I’m sure we’ve all had those moments where someone asks what you’re reading and there’s a part of you that hesitates to tell them as you know the reaction could run the gamut from disgust to confusion, puzzlement to curiosity. It’s not as simple as saying, “Hey I’m reading a romance novel.” No, I read MM romance and yes I’m a woman. Yes, I am a huge supporter of LBGT rights, but the stories I read are about more than that. I read the for more than a political statement. I read them for the wonderful romantic stories contained within their pages. As much as, again, I love to talk online with my friends about the books we’re reading I miss that face to face contact. That book club that meets every week for coffee or tea to discuss the details of what you all read; the friendships that form as you rave or rag on the writing before you. I love the idea of a bookstore that’s trying to give that to a sub-culture of writing that struggles to get mainstream recognition.
So at the end of the day I wanted to help her out, to give their project even that little bit wider of an audience. I’m going to do what I can to support them and I hope some of you are also inclined. I know I’ll never stop buying my ebooks, but this does remind me that supporting the authors I love by buying the paperbacks they offer on occasion is just as lovely an idea. Maybe I really do need to walk myself down to the B&N superstore near me and just see how many of my favorite authors are on those shelves. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet another new friend in my own area whose wondering just like I am where all the like-minded people are.
What do you all think? When all is said and done, who out there still misses their paperbacks?
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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