Saturday, April 21, 2007

MySpace Saves Bookstores

According to this article from Publisher's Weekly, the social networking site MySpace has helped save a Chicago institution from closing.

Women & Children First Bookstore, a 28 year old feminist bookstore in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, used their MySpace page to discuss their financial difficulties with their patrons and friends. Even though W&CF is such a popular bookstore, their financial difficulties are a direct result of people buying books elsewhere. In fact many indie bookstores (and big box bookstores) are suffering, due to the widespread popularity of, among other things. The owners of W&CF posted this missive in their blog, to an overwhelmingly positive response. Their sales, both in store and online, improved considerably within a weekend.

Personally, I think it would be a shame if W&CF closed down. When I was in college, I drove down to Chicago to see Alice Walker read from her book on female genital mutilation in Africa. I was packed into this little tiny bookstore with over a hundred other people, and I got to meet Walker face to face. Without bookstores like Women & Children First to support them, independent and interesting writers may not have a chance to promote their work.