Louisville Dispatch: Be the Bookstore and Shop Local!
With coursebook rush running smoothly, our Executive Manager Annie Shapiro was able to skip town to attend the American Booksellers Association’s 3rd Annual Winter Institute in Louisville, KY. She took time out between sessions to file this report:
The Winter Institute is two and a half days of intensive professional training specifically for independent booksellers. That’s heaven on earth for me, someone who lives and breathes bookselling (ask my boyfriend!) Actually, the first time I walked into Book Culture (then Labyrinth), several years before I thought of working here, I had the strange and overwhelming desire to be a bookstore. I turned to the friend I was with and told her, and she said, “What do you mean? Do you want to work at a bookstore? Do you want to own a bookstore?” I had no idea – I just wanted to be one! Well, I feel like I’ve come pretty close…
I’ve attended some excellent sessions and heard a couple of very inspiring speakers (including the CE-YO of Stonyfield Farm), but the panel that spurred me to action was a report on the Shop Local movement from four veteran booksellers. These booksellers from Austin, Salt Lake City, Menlo Park and Tampa have each been actively involved in creating and promoting a local business alliance in their community. This is a movement we’ve been aware of and promoting in a low-key kind of way, but I think the time has come to really educate ourselves, our staff and our community about the value of shopping where we live. After the session was over I turned to a fellow New York City bookseller who was sitting near me and together we vowed to take on New York, to do whatever it takes to create an understanding and appreciation for independent businesses.
The first step will be to educate myself on the subject, and naturally I already have a list of books lined up that I want to read. A couple that we have in the store and that are of general interest include: Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, by Stacy Mitchell and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben.
To learn more about the Shop Local movement, check out the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).