Occasionally, in the shop, I’ll hear a customer comment on the price of our books; I’ll hear whispers about Amazon and comparisons to Books-a-Million. And you know what? That’s okay. I understand books can be a luxury item, and everyone has a budget they have to operate and maintain. Books don’t always fit into the plan. (I, of course, find myself solidly in Erasmus’ camp: “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”)
For many, shopping at Walmart or Books-a-Million or Amazon is a financial decision, an act of convenience. But the longer I work in small business – I hit the three year mark in August – the more I realize the value in shopping locally.
For every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, $48 stays in your community (as opposed to the $14 that stays when you support a chain store). And if that’s not enough to convince you shopping small is important for our economy, try this: For every $10 million of consumer spending, shopping at local, brick-and-mortar bookstores creates 57 jobs; shopping on Amazon creates just 14.
I won’t tell you where to shop this holiday season – that’s entirely up to your schedule and budget – but I will encourage you to wander downtown, especially on Small Business Saturday, when shops up and down our streets will open their doors and celebrate what it means to be a small business.
We at The Bookshelf will also be celebrating nationally-recognized Indies First day, when independent bookshops across the country will ask their customers to put their local bookstore first – sure, browse Barnes and Noble, and by all means, I suppose you can snag a cheap book off of Amazon, but first? Check with your local bookseller.
It’s a fun concept, and to honor the day, we’ll be hosting two authors in the store: CJ Hauser and Elizabeth Stuckey-French. Both women will be signing copies of their books, but they’ll also be offering their favorite recommendations and wrapping gifts for the holidays. Katie Gentry, an artist from Tallahassee, will pop in for a trunk show in the afternoon, showcasing her story time bean bag chairs and handmade teepees. (I love that in our small business, we can help other small businesses, too!)
So this year, with holidays fast approaching, consider shopping small. Come out on November 29 – and thanks, as always, for supporting the store. We are so grateful for a town that loves its locals.