Creative New Paths

We are beginning a brand new era. Just when some members of the media proclaimed that the ebook would kill bookstores, people are speaking up, finding ways to see indie bookstores in their communities continue to keep the doors open.

The closing of Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville, Tennessee has been a huge loss for the community. Shortly after the announcement was made by its parent company, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, people pulled together to find out how to fill the void. Besides being open every day, the bookstore offered wildly popular author events and children’s programs. It contributed to the annul book festival, supported the good work of numerous literacy non-profit organizations, helped schools and others fundraise, and added to the rich cultural life in Nashville. People wanted to find a way to get all of that back.

We joined the second meeting, which was held in February at the Green Hills Public Library, to provide information and present some opportunities. More than 40 people attended … all committed to find a way to keep an indie bookstore alive and contributing to their rich literary cultural life.

The desire stretches to other communities throughout the country. Ithaca, New York is working on a bookstore co-op and within three weeks has gathered pledges worth $250,000 to help develop a new community bookstore.

These communities are making a huge statement about the worth of a physical bookstore — to the quality of our daily lives, the richness of our communities, and the abilities of our literacy efforts. Bookstores have always combined the entrepreneurial energy with philanthropic efforts. What’s emerging is a new way to combine both … communities creating community bookstores.