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Re: Amazon/B&N vs Independent Bookstores

If you all  can stand one more about Amazon & Barnes & Noble --

I too love those online services and have nothing but praise for their
customer service, their shipping(fast!), etc.  I have to say, too, that
I'm a little tired of all the B&N bashing.  I have lived on the West
Coast, the Midwest, the East Coast, in big and little cities, and
when I go to a bookstore, I want to find good books!  In NYC,
Barnes and Noble bookstores carry the most esoteric poetry and
they are polite and pleasant.  There is a myth about the
Shakespeare bookstore on the Upper West Side -- that they were
destroyed by B&N.  I lived on the UWS from 1976 to 1989, and
Shakespeare's, as I understand it, was instrumental in the
destruction of the wonderful New Yorker Bookstore.  Further, for all
of Shakespeare's whining and moaning, I tried to shop there for
years -- their service was abominable, they didn't care whether or
not they kept customers, they sure didn't give a fig about
discounts.  I was not sorry to see them go.  Now I live near
Oneonta, upstate, about 1/2 way between Albany and Binghamton
(about 2 hrs to each).  We have, in Oneonta, a couple of used
bookstores who don't care whether you shop there or not, and the
ever fabulous Walden bookstore in the mall, whose idea of poetry
is a book by Rod McKuen.  To be fair, they will order.  There was a
bookstore in Delhi, the closest village to me, but they had very little
stock and went out of business a few years ago.  The only other
bookstore in town is a remainder store.  (Which is ok, for good
deals but not a lot of variety.)  In NYC, while I lived there, my
favorite bookstores were Gryphon Books, on the Upper West Side,
but they were used and rare books -- still, a fabulous store, and
Barnes and Noble stores.  Now, I am in the City periodically, and I
try to go to B & N and Gryphon, if I can.  But for a true bibliophile
who doesn't live near a decent bookstore, B & N.com and
Amazon.com are soul-savers.  You might also be interested to
know that I am the editor in chief of a small, not-for-profit press; we
publish poetry and short fiction.  I am grateful to B&N.com and
Amazon.com for carrying our books; I am grateful to the book
distributors who distribute us; and I think their discounts are fair.
And, for good measure, independent bookstores return books the
same as the biggies.  We are making wonderful, important books,
and we hope people will find them of interest.  It's a struggle, but no
one asked us to do this work; we do it for love.  Most of the world
doesn't care about poetry; most of the world would rather watch
TV.  One of the reasons I enjoy this list so much is that there are
so many people who love books, the fabric of them, the contents of
them; and anybody who sells books is a hero to me.


Bertha Rogers

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