Today I received the following message from the writer Roy Blount Jr., who is president of an organization I belong to -- the Authors Guild. I'm sending it along to you because you are not only my readers, but you are surely just plain READERS too, and Roy's letter is full of great suggestions for you.
The photo was copied from Amazon.com, where you can order my book if you haven't already read it. But as the message below explains, buy it [and other books] at your neighborhood bookstore.
Having my book sell would be nice for me. But I'm mainly writing to share the larger message. Books and bookstores are becoming endangered species. As a writer, therefore, I am an endangered species too. SAVE US!
Dear Members of the Authors Guild:
I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.
We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!
There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."
Enjoy the holidays.
Roy Blount Jr.