I'm not sure what all happened while I took my short hiatus recently, but it appears the world is radiating animosity in the direction of writers and booksellers.
First, I found an article by Brenna Clarke Gray in which she argues how much people hate passive aggressive writers. There are writers out there (she says self-pub'd & independent, but I've seen NY-pub'd authors do it too) who try to make you feel guilty for their lack of success. These writers argue it's because the reader didn't buy their book. I agree with Gray that it's really annoying.
The same thought of passive aggressiveness now leads us to the topic of bookstores. Whether Barnes & Noble or indie, brick n' mortar booksellers are quickly becoming a relic of the past. Many argue just because they're failing, doesn't mean readers have to save them by shopping. Today I would like to argue why you might actually want to help booksellers out.
Like the writer, it is not the reader's job to save or help create the dream. Why do you shop on Amazon or half-priced, used bookstores? Because it makes sense. Books can be expensive. However, continue reading if you'd like to hear me out on this one.
Abusing the Whole Entitlement Thing.
I'm not sure whether it's the boom in technology or constant flux of college graduates, but the word "entitlement" is thrown around a lot these days. Some people say college students, when they complain about the type of job reality offers versus a job in their field of study, are nothing more than self-righteous, ignorant punks who feel life should just hand them things.
1. It is true college students shouldn't walk away from graduation, thinking they deserve something stellar right out of the door. However, I wonder what the common thought would be if our economy was in a better state.
For instance, Bill Clinton is remembered as one of the greatest presidents in recent times. However, he actually sucked during his first term. It was the economic recovery that save him his job and made him popular. Maybe if we all had better luck, people would leave the already stressed out college grads alone.
2. Take this same theme of entitlement and role with it. For some reason people don't think anyone should be entitled to anything, unless it's them personally. Then they've worked harder than everyone else.
3. Now that we've declared entitlement a pejorative term, let's move on before it becomes clichéd. Every time I hear a rebuttal that focuses on entitlement, I tune out. People say you shouldn't shop at bookstores just because they're failing. They're not entitled to anything.
What I'd like to argue is to take the word entitled and ban it like we do all the great books. Why should you shop at Barnes & Noble or indie bookstores. Because you like them. Think about it: You embraced every part of the Harry Potter series because you liked the previous one. People buy sequels to video games for the same reason. If you like the idea of going to a bookstore, actually buy stuff there. Don't just skim through some of the books and sip on your latte.
If you don't care for bookstores as much as you do buying discount books, shopping online, or reading eBooks, then keep doing that. No one's begging. No one's arguing entitlement. All booksellers are doing is saying, "Hey, if you like visiting us, maybe buy a book next time you're here?"
Change Isn't Always Bad, but Being Stubborn is OK.
Some people like to argue readers & writers can't handle change. No one wants a book giant like B&N to fail, because they fear what's next.
If you're an avid fan of a bookseller, then stand your ground and refuse to shop elsewhere. The booksellers need people like you.
But what I've learned from writing and being a reader myself, is that none of these things will harm you. Just keep reading and writing. Buy books from the booksellers you like.
That's it. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes it's a brutal blow to the gut. Nevertheless, change alone won't kill off literature or the forms people like to read. It's big enough to stand its ground, while small enough to hide in the cracks as bigger beasts prey.
Why I'll Still Buy What I Can at Bookstores.
While maybe my thoughts here are little jagged, I will continue to shop wherever I feel like shopping. I'll download eBooks (legally) when I feel like reading a digital format. I'll buy paperbacks from booksellers and online. At the end of the day, though, whenever I'm in a Barnes & Noble or indie bookstore, I'll probably pick up a copy from them, if for no other reason than I hope I can smell coffee and the musk of books another day still to come.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.