You may have heard the news that the independent bookstore is dead, that books are dead, that maybe even reading is dead – to which I say, Pull up a chair, friend. I have a story to tell.

the-bookshop-strikes-backThis is a small little book, 20 pages, by Orange Prize winner Ann Patchett about bookshops; why they are important and what we lose if they are gone. Ann’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee was left without a bookshop when the local ex-independent bookstore  was closed by its new parent company for not being profitable enough and the subsequent collapse of the Borders chain. When Ann’s last novel was published in 2011 the only place she could sell it in her hometown was the local framing shop and her local alterations shop.

So she decided to open her own bookshop, Parnassus Books. Everyone told her she was crazy. That books would be gone in two years let alone bookshops. Her business advisor told her not to do it. But she plowed on. Ann details her bookshop’s story, as only she can in her wonderfully honest and to the point style, from the bookshop’s idea to it slowly taking shape to the eventual grand opening in November 2011. She tells how she became the spokesperson for independent bookshops, appearing on The Colbert Report and the front page of The New York Times. And she explains not only the joy of being in a bookshop but the joy of building, working in and owning one.

This book is only available in bookshops for $2.99 and if you spend $30 or more in Pages & Pages on National Bookshop Day you can get a copy for free.

Listen to Ann Patchett talk about her bookshop on Radio National

PS I think someone should buy Barack Obama a copy of this book

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