As feisty independent bookstore owner Meg Ryan once illustrated in the film You’ve Got Mail, physical bookstores have long been trying a variety of methods to compete. While in the film Meg Ryan fought against the monopoly of chain bookstore Fox Books, modern booksellers are battling against Amazon and other e-book sales by hosting author events, selling their own e-readers (Barnes and Noble), freebie promotions, and partnering with the Google e-bookstore so that they can gain revenue from selling e-books on their own websites. But, as this article explains further, some daringly innovative bookstores are “taking a page from Amazon by producing titles themselves.” Personally, I think this is an excellent idea!A major factor contributing to Amazon’s success is that they offer something nobody else offers–content for the Kindle–and they’re expanding upon this advantage with their six publishing imprints—47North, Thomas & Mercer, Montlake Romance, AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, and The Domino Project–by offering original content that readers can’t get anywhere else.
I like the idea of writing local, but the commitment needs to occur through all the levels of publishing. Bookstores need to stock–and more importantly, publishers need to publish–local literature that celebrates local themes, traditions, experiences, history, and settings. I think it’s a great idea for bookstores–the book lovers who are in the trenches every day, reading, selling, reviewing, buying, and perusing books–to recognize that lots of readers like to read local and offer them original, authentically local content that they can’t–and wouldn’t want to–get anywhere else.