Bookstores are important. So are booksellers. And they—and the ideas and communities they serve—need protection. Danny Caine, the best-selling author of How to Resist Amazon and Why and co-owner of the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, writes a stirring call to action. Bookstores are not charities, he writes, and they shouldn't get a pass on exploitative labor practices, but they play a vital role in our society that is worth upholding. Preparing the ground for a more expansive book on the topic, Caine offers 50 ideas for protecting this idiosyncratic business niche and, by extension, the neighborhoods that bookstores anchor.
Some of the ideas are straightforward: buy books at bookstores, talk them up on social media, and write glowing online reviews. Others ask you to think bigger: support your local bookstore's neighboring businesses, support your local library, and lobby your elected officials to pass legislation that ensures livable wages and makes it easier to run small businesses. Still others are just excellent advice: go on dates at bookstores and buy and read weird books that you've never heard of before. Readers, publishers, politicians, workers, union organizers, and landlords can all find tailor-made calls to action in these pages. Especially now, with freedom of speech under attack from the right, it's time for us to protect books and those who sell them.
BY Danny Caine. Paperback bound zine. 50 pages. Published by Microcosm, 2023.