We have an independent book store in town that isn’t quite as quaint as the stock photo above. But it’s an independent bookstore and I believe strongly in frequenting such places. If there is any hope in keeping these stores afloat, those of us who spend way more money on books than we should, need to spend some (if not all) of those dollars at independent bookstores.
That being said, I get my feathers pretty ruffled by many of the decisions the store’s proprietors make. While I understand that they need to pay the bills, I don’t understand why they claim to be a book store and again and again invite “fauthors” (my term for celebrity authors- fake authors- ‘fauthors’) to book signings. The message that these events send feels all wrong to me.
Last week, the Kardashians were in town to sign ‘their’ book. Mind you, the following comes from a person who might happen to stumble upon Keeping up with the Kardashians every so often. A person who might happen to watch an episode or two if her television somehow finds the show all on it’s own. But I was appalled to learn that a crowd of 4,000 was predicted for the book signing. Seriously. A rainy day and perhaps some common sense resulted in the number of attendees being closer to 700. Now, we watch the Kardashians for complete mind-free entertainment. That is television. Not reading. Yet a bookstore brought in 700 people for these ‘fauthors.’ Seriously.
And then, on Saturday a good friend of mine organized an international storytelling event at this same book store. The event was designed to be part pre-school fundraiser/part storytelling and crafts for the kids. The event was attended by a handful of people. And I don’t mean a magical hand that can hold 700 people. I mean a regular old handful. The same store that drew 700 people for the Kardashians drew a handful of people for an international storytelling event complete with books and crafts.
I have been thinking a lot lately about where we put our time and energy as a society. I am in the process of creating a fantastic program (if I do say so myself!) for my Books as Gifts class at our community school (click here for more information). And do you know how many people registered for it so far? Let’s just say, if you guessed 700, you would be wrong.
So I challenge myself and all of us to put our energy where it should go. We all complain about our lack of time but let’s choose to spend it in thoughtful places. And I don’t mean that you need to sign up for my class. That is not the point of this at all, really. It is a reminder that we embrace what we value and put our time and energy there.
I wonder if this means the next time I am tempted to catch up with the Kardashians that I should read a book? I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it means…