My April UBFP Newspaper Article – Why We Need Independent Bookstores

I know I’m not supposed to be posting today, but I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press(the newspaper I write for) for the April issue! The online version was just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 16).

I hope you enjoy the article!

Why We Need Independent Bookstores

Over the summer my family moved to a town that does not have a bookstore. This was very different from where we used to live. I was used to going to a bookstore pretty much anytime I wanted to, if I could get my parents to drive me there. When we moved I realized I took the wonderful bookstores in the Bucks and Montgomery county area for granted (and don’t forget the awesome comic book stores in the area too – Ultimate Comics in the Quakertown Farmers Market, Cyborg One in Doylestown).

Getting a book of your very own is a great experience for kids and adults. Getting it from a small independently owned bookstore is an even greater experience. The people who work in the shop get to know you and will make suggestions to you based on what they think you would like. You don’t get that from shopping online or in a large bookstore. Books might be cheaper ordering them over the internet, but you get a whole lot more from a small local bookstore. Independently owned bookstores are part of the local community. I asked Shelly Plumb, owner of Harleysville Books about being an independent bookstore owner and what stores like hers do for the community.


Erik – Besides selling books, what other great things do independent bookstores bring to a community?

Mrs. Plumb – We’ll for one – we bring AUTHORS!  You can meet your favorite authors when you purchase your books online – you only really get the chance to talk with them when they visit your local bookstores.  We also provide a place for people to get to know one another.  Customers that are neighbors and friends meet us at the bookstore or through our programs customers make new friends.  The last thing I can think of is local bookstores, like all local businesses bring money to their community.  We provide jobs, pay taxes, donate to schools and local non-profits and we work with other local businesses.


Anna and Rebecca Plumb with Amelia Bedelia author Herman Parish

Erik – I also know that the small bookstores in our area offer other great things like book clubs, game nights, fund raisers, learning seminars and other great events for kids and adults. What do you like the most about owning an independent bookstore?

Mrs. Plumb – I love putting a book in someone’s hands and then hearing from them after they have read it how much they liked it!  I also love that I get to meet all these really cool authors and that because of Harleysville Books we make it possible for fans to meet their favorite authors.

Erik – I know I met a bunch of great authors at your store (Nick Bruel, Brandon Mull, Debbie Dadey, Mo Willems, Dan Gutman, Peter Lerangis, Jude Watson – WOW! What a great bunch of authors!). I think meeting authors is a great way to get kids into reading. Getting a signed copy of a book is a cool thing to do too. I know that one of the biggest competitors of small bookstores is online sellers. What are some ways that small bookstores like Harleysville Books changes to keep up with technology (like using Skype or selling ebooks)?

Mrs. Plumb – You are right when you say we keep up with technology by skyping with authors, selling Kobo readers and tablets and ebooks in the store and our website. Another way we stay current is by using facebook and twitter to connect with customers and authors.

Erik – Those are awesome ways to stay modern and help your customers even more. Thanks Mrs. Plumb!

 In closing I’d like to say, the next time that you are looking for a place to go for some fun, go to your local independently owned bookstore! If you don’t know where your local bookstore is, go to and search using your zip code. indie

For book reviews, please visit my web site

**NOTE Author Kate Messner just wrote an article about GoodReads being bought by Amazon and how that may hurt indie bookstores. Check it out HERE. She has a great idea to keep supporting local bookstores!

Categories: Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading

29 replies

  1. Great article Eric! Keep up the good work! Kay Winters

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Whoot! Good for you to jump on the subject and do an interview with an Indie. I know I miss all of our independent book stoes. The one that remains has been bought out by a larger store. Not quite the same. Excellent article and timing!

  3. Way to go, Erik! I support Indies, too, and keep the IndieBound icon on my web page so everyone will be encouraged to search for one. Thank goodness there are great communities out there supporting them. Super article. So happy you talked about such an important subject to so many authors and readers!

  4. I totally agree, Erik, and as an author, I find that in independent stores, I also sell a lot of books because the owners or clerks will recommend my books. That’s better than all the big bucks spent on ads in magazine or newspapers or even on television and radio, because the customer is quite likely to buy that recommended book.

  5. Awesome article, Erik. I just showed it to my husband (a political columnist with our local daily for the last 33 years) and he was VERY impressed with all the background knowledge you have and the research that went into it.

  6. Excellent article, Erik. (There are very few independent book stores here too).

  7. A very timely and well worded article Erik. I love my local independant bookstore. They are so good to me and often recommend my books. I have held all my book launches there with great turnouts. We need independant bookstores and we need people like you to write about that need. Thanks!!

  8. What an amazing article! I love to visit my local bookstores and talk to the people working there and look for books. They are a great place to meet authors and discover new worlds. Great interview! 🙂

  9. Great article, Erik. I wish I had a bookstore closer. It’s quite a drive into the city, so my visits are rare. 🙁

  10. Great interview and article, Erik! Maybe when you come back from college but before you become a famous author, you could run your own bookstore?

  11. Great interview. Hooray for independent book stores.

  12. Fabulous article! I am lucky there are still many indies in the Boston area, but we have lost many specialty stores. My favorite was the Globe Corner Book Store in Harvard Square that sold only travel books and maps, but they had anything and everything you could imagine!

  13. Oh! Cool, Erik. Sorry I missed this. Great article.

  14. Social Networking sites do seem to be the lifeblood that would sustain independent bookstores such as this one. I hope to feature more independent bookstores as well in GatheringBooks soon – I’m letting the idea simmer for a while and I know it will just come when the moment is ripe for it. 🙂

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