The last bookstore in my town closed in March 2010. No more browsing bookshelves for hidden gems or stopping in for a quick pick off the front table of New Fiction. More than half of the books I read now are e-books, because it’s fast and it’s easy. But like most readers, I love bookstores. We grew up around bookstores, so they are nostalgic landmarks. But they are also venues for local authors to read and sell their self-published works. They give high school students a perfect date destination full of conversation topics and overlapping interests. They also provide fulfilling jobs for all those English majors out there who don’t want to teach. A bookstore is an integral part of any community.
Even though I can’t wander around a bookstore down the street, I can buy e-books from the local bookstore in my hometown of Louisville, Ky., Carmichael’s Bookstore. Amazon may have cornered the Kindle e-book market, but anyone with a computer, a smart phone or an iPad can read e-books from independent bookstores across the nation through Google and IndieBound.org.
IndieBound connects readers like us to indie bookstores. You don’t actually buy the book on IndieBound, but the site will help you find a bookstore near you or connect you to indie bookstores that sell something you’re looking for. Then you buy the e-book directly from the little corner book shop. For example, I go to Carmichael’s website and search for True Believers* within their “Google eBook” tab. When I check out, it asks me to log into Google (if you have a Gmail account, that’s your username and password) and then I buy the ePub. The book shows up on my IndieBound app on my iPhone or iPad. It’s also available when I log into Google and go to Google Books, where I can download it and read it on my computer screen.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to hang out in Carmichael’s and chat with the bookseller about their new books or upcoming events. But I do give them some business so that someone in town can keep hanging out there and authors have a place to read their memoirs.
*Check out my process in picking this book: https://lamplightandink.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/finding-and-finishing-thought-provoking-books/