The customers at Third Street Books in McMinnville, Oregon will tell you that store owner Sylla McClellan is a nice woman. She’s also not afraid to speak her mind, which she did when a local author suggested only one option in a book release email—that people buy his book at Amazon.
McClellan quickly emailed back: Congrats on your new book! Publishing a book, especially a novel is a labor of love, we know. As an independent bookstore, this business is a labor of love as well. I always like to support authors, especially ones that have an Oregon connection. We have your book on hand in the store. Which is why, I’m sure you can imagine, it sort of chaps my hide that your email encourages people to buy your book from Amazon. Certainly you are aware of all the great independent bookstores in the United States. I mean even in Portland we have the great Powell’s (which does sell online). There is also this neat program called IndieBound that encourages booklovers to support independent bookstores. You may also want to investigate NWBooklovers.com, which narrows the field a bit to the northwest, but gets national attention.
I know that publisher marketing departments aren’t doing all they used to for authors these days. I understand that everyone has to hustle a little harder. Sometimes I think that I am hustling so much something might fall off. So consider, please, that your audience might like options besides big, corporate online bookstores–that will never host you for an author event or give donations to a local school–and include, if not a link to your local independent (that may very well sell online), then to a place like IndieBound.
McClellan is a former president of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, whose blog, this one, has mentioned the book several times and has invited the author to its bookseller tradeshow just last fall.
In fairness, the author responded admirably, noting that there’s an independent store listed on his website, among other options, and promised to include the same in future emails. Sometimes we just have to remind one another.