On Friday, I visited Book King, in downtown Rutland, Vermont. I had read that it was closing, and as for the past year it has been the only place where readers can walk in and purchase my books in Rutland County, I wanted to check in, in person. As I strolled down Center Street, I noticed other businesses, that I had long accepted as staples of downtown Rutland, were gone. Vamoose. No more. It makes me sad. I’d love to think that they moved to a more prime location with additional space and parking spaces, but the reality is that they likely closed. I don’t like change. I like tradition. I like trusted, long-time, businesses. I cherish interactions with people who are passionate about their workplaces. I like walking into an actual bookstore and looking at displays and touching physical books. I enjoy stopping by a candy store and browsing the cases of sweet choices. And nothing compares to choosing flowers and plants from the aisles and coolers of a local, family, flower shop and greenhouses.
But times are changing. The flower shop of my childhood closed several years ago, now. I find that I most often buy candy at the supermarket. Even my books are print-on-demand through the Internet. Life moves fast, and convenience has tremendous merit when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day. Yet, are we missing out on the little joys in our rush to get everything done?
Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for having a print-on-demand option for my books. I wouldn’t be a published author without it. However, I dream of having my books sold in actual bookstores. All four of my books are available for purchase in (or through) your favorite physical bookstore… but it’s “cheaper” and “easier” to just order it online. But this week, in celebration of Rutland, Vermont’s Book King, I ask you, if you’re in Rutland, Vermont, to stop in and pick up a copy of “Wicked Normal” or “Wicked Weird.” I don’t mind one iota if you set it right back down again. Nor do I mind if you purchase it. But just go in, hold a book or two in your hands, and support the efforts of a small business that gave it a go… before it’s gone. And if you’re somewhere else this week, try to carve out some time to go to your local bookstore and remember a time, not truly so long ago, when you (or, depending on your age, your parents) spent a rewarding Saturday afternoon scanning the shelves in hopes of finding your newest favorite. And if that bookstore doesn’t have my books (obviously your soon-to-be newest favorites), they can order them for you. After all, most things aren’t only available online… that’s just typically the most convenient option.
Here’s to not living life solely based on convenience, and to enjoying the treasures we might otherwise take for granted… before we run out of time to do so. Happy summer.