Goodbye Borders, Hello Independent Bookstores?

With today’s announcement that Borders will close the last of its 399 stores, I couldn’t help but wonder, does this mean the return of independent bookstores? I can’t say I’m exactly sad to see Borders go as I’ve always been a huge supporter of the smaller, mom-and-pop bookstores, but I do feel for the Borders employees who will lose their jobs.

The closing of Borders represents the larger picture of the changing book industry and I don’t like the direction in which it is going. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer real books over their electronic form. I will always own more books than I know what to do with and I will always go out and buy more. You will never see me reading a book on a Kindle or an iPad. I’ll even take that a step further and say that I don’t buy books over the internet. When it comes to buying books, I am all about going to the local, independent bookstore and physically browsing through their collection.

Sure, I could find and buy every book I’d ever want online, but part of the fun of finding a book is the hunt! Will this bookstore have the book I want? What will I do if they don’t have the book I’m looking for? I have to say, my local bookstore has rarely let me down. Many times I stepped into Borders and the book I wanted wasn’t there. That same book could be found on the shelves of my local, independent bookstore.

It’s such a treat to be able to browse through the local bookstore. From the moment I walk through the front doors of my bookstore, I know I’m taking part in something good. From the friendly, quirky, and very knowledgable booksellers to the handwritten book recommendations and the quiet lull of the store to the plush furniture on which you can skim through a book, the bookstore creates an enjoyable reading environment that can never be duplicated online.

The closing of Borders marks a turning point in the book industry and I’m hoping that it will also be a turning point for independent bookstores. The art of physically choosing a book from a bookshelf and holding it in your hands should never die. Instead of virtually browsing and buying a book, why not pick a book from the shelves of a wise and friendly bookseller in your own community?


If Snooki Can Write and Publish a Novel, Then We All Can. No, Seriously.

Now that she is a published author, Snooki would prefer you call her by her real name, Nicole Polizzi.  Wait a minute.  Snooki is a published author? Excuse me, I meant to say Nicole Polizzi is a published author? Published?!

That’s it!

If Snooki can write and publish a novel, then there is absolutely no excuse for the rest of us not to write that one good novel that we all have burning inside of us.  I said it before when reality TV star Lauren Conrad wrote and published a novel series and now I will say it again. If Snooki can write a novel and get it published, then we all can.

For those of you who have never heard of Snooki, I commend you. That means that you use your time wisely and don’t get sucked into watching reality TV or reading celebrity gossip magazines.  Snooki made her fame (or I should say infamy) as a star on MTV’s Jersey Shore. There, she became a household name with her shenanigans, her tan, her love of pickles, and most importantly, her pouf.

Maybe the news of the Snooki’s first book is the swift kick in the rear that I need as a writer.  It has always been a goal of mine to have a novel (or several) published and if Snooki can do it, why I can’t I?  Sure, I haven’t made international (tabloid) headlines with my role on a hit reality TV show and I haven’t been arrested for public drunkenness, but I like to think I can write well enough to craft a novel that at least a few people would want to read.  I have been an active writer since I was four.  I won several scary story contests in the local paper when I was in elementary school.  I even studied Creative Writing in college. Doesn’t any of that count for something?!

With the news of more and more celebrities publishing novels, I have come to realize that writing skill does not necessarily translate in to publication. It seems that to be published, you just need to know the right people.  If you know the right people you can get published without being a good writer. If you’re famous enough, the right people will even contact you and ask you to write your novel.  So if I want to get published as a writer, maybe I should focus my energies on making a viral YouTube video instead?  Then maybe publishers will come knocking on my door, begging me to write a novel.  No, I suppose if I want to get my work published, I’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way: hard work, dedication, and the ability to deal gracefully with rejection letters.

If Lauren Conrad Can Write and Publish Books, We All Can

Former reality TV star Lauren Conrad is on a book tour promoting her teen series, L.A. Candy.  A movie is already in the works! If she can write and publish teen novels, we all can right? Probably,  if you subscribe to the whole everyone-has-one-good-novel-in-them theory.

The more important question is, what is the likelihood of having your teen novel published? Conrad is not a writer by trade, but she has the social capital to get anything she wants published or turned into a movie/television show.  Publishers approach her to pen a ten series about a reality TV star.  I certainly don’t have publishers knocking down my door (except in my dreams).  In fact, I’m lucky if a publisher doesn’t throw my un-opened manuscripts straight into the trash bin.

Then there’s Stephanie Meyer.   She had never written so much as a short story before in her life.  Then, she wrote Twilight, a story that came to her in a dream.  Meyer had intended to keep the story to herself, but after reading the finished version, her sister convinced her to send it to a publisher.  Meyer wrote 15 letters; 9 were rejected, 5 went unanswered and 1 was positive.  Finally, there was an auction for her manuscript and Ms. Meyer received $750,000 for her Twilight series. Not too shabby for a woman who never wrote.  Maybe there is still some hope in getting published the old-fashioned way! Maybe all it takes to get published is coming up with an original, heart wrenching story idea  plus an effective pitch letter.

There’s always self publishing, I suppose, if you are in to that sort of thing.  The verdict is still out on that.  People on Twitter try to convince me daily that self-publishing my work is the way to go, but I’m not too sure.  I could be convinced.

I guess there are worse things for celebrities to do besides write teen novels.  At least Lauren Conrad’s claim to fame is not undergoing multiple plastic surgeries like her Hills nemesis, Heidi Montag.  Regardless, I still like to think that if Lauren Conrad can write teen novels, I can, too.