While we were in New York City on Tuesday our bus passed the Strand Bookstore on the corner of 12th and Broadway. I used the opportunity to get up from my front-of-the-bus seat, turn around, and offer a brief lecture to my students about how any educated person must visit the Strand at least once. I think I may have said it was the greatest bookstore in America, or something like that.
I don’t know how the Strand is doing financially or if it has been affected by Amazon, Borders or Barnes & Noble. But I do know that independent bookstores around the country are in trouble. See, for example, James Emery White’s post (HT: Jesus Creed) about the closing of two of his favorite bookstores.
One of the bookstores White mentions is Joseph-Beth Booksellers. According to this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Joseph-Beth has filed for bankruptcy and will be closing its stores in Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and Cleveland.
I was scheduled to do a book talk and signing for Was American Founded as a Christian Nation at the Joseph-Beth store in Pittsburgh on April 10, 2010. Needless to say, the event has been canceled.
But let’s get back to White’s lament for the independent bookstore. (Actually, one of the stores he is lamenting is a Borders Books. Sorry, Mr. White, that doesn’t count as an “independent” bookstore). White believes he has helped to destroy these brick and mortar shops by buying books at Amazon. And in some ways he is correct.
I wonder if I am doing the same thing by linking to Amazon on this blog. If I really believe in local business, perhaps I should be linking to an independent bookstore when I review a book or make reference to a book in a blog post as I have done with my own book above.
What do you think?