a post from the Author Enablers
With more than 25 years of experience, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam Barry have the inside scoop on writing and publishing. Together, they are the authors of Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now.  Email them your questions (along with your name and hometown) about writing and publishing, and don’t miss their column on BookPage.com.

Kathleen Caldwell is the owner of A Great Good Place for Books. She has turned her bookstore into a vibrant hub of cultural activity in her section of the world, which happens to be the Montclair district of Oakland, California. She hosts several author events each week, offers discounts to book groups, and makes sure there is always a plate of cookies in the children’s section. She is a natural-born bookseller.

In a recent Facebook post, Kathleen expressed frustration that customers come into her shop, ask for her book recommendations, and then say “Thanks, I’m going to go home and order that on my Kindle.” She wonders, if people keep relying on her expertise but shopping elsewhere, how she will stay in business.

We are not Luddites. Ebooks are here, and we are not saying they are a bad thing. Writing, stories, and ideas are what matter, not simply the format in which they are delivered. But the book is one of the most important pieces of technology ever invented, and has advanced civilization immeasurably.

Try to imagine a world with only one source of news—one television/radio/newspaper delivery system. That doesn’t sound very healthy, does it? Now imagine a world with only one source of literature; one place doing all the publishing, distributing, promoting, and selling. None of us wants that; but what we need to remember is that we have the economic power to prevent such a world from coming into being.

Booksellers like Kathleen offer more than hardcovers and paperbacks. They offer a deep level of knowledge and expertise. If we don’t support our local, brick-and-mortar-based booksellers, we won’t have them to turn to when we need advice, recommendations, or a cookie.

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