You’ve noticed whenever we post about an author, we include a link to purchase the writer’s newest book at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. It’s a small gesture to say thanks for the bookstore’s partnership over the years.
During the days of in-person events, you’d see folks from The Book House sitting behind a table selling books. Their longstanding support for those events — upwards of 30 or more each year, plus the Albany Book Festival extravaganza — came at a cost: The Book House had to pay their staffer, and the staffer had to lug boxes of books to venues across the Capital Region.
In these pandemic times, local, independent bookstores are facing challenging times. Foot traffic in their shops has decreased while online traffic to Amazon has increased. It’s a worrisome trend for anyone who supports their community’s bricks and mortar establishments. An op/ed published in the Chicago Tribune yesterday made the point beautifully:
Remember, before the pandemic, what it was like to browse a bookstore? There’s no hurry, no rush. It’s a pleasurable wandering, allowing room for the unexpected and intuitive. Book browsing is also communing with a space — unlike on Amazon, where you scroll. Your whole body and mind are engaged in browsing: You drift around the stacks, drawn on by the rhythmic spines; looking, circling, bending and reaching; picking up books, this one larger or smaller in the hand, that one unexpectedly heavy; noticing the colorful designs; creamy or stiff paper; the smell of ink; you encounter other human beings in that space, doing the same thing, a browsing collective of curious minds.
You never know what you may find, what mind from the past or present you may meet, or what person you may encounter just on the other side of the bookcase; and isn’t finding the unlooked-for one of life’s pleasures?
— “Why bricks-and-mortar independent bookstores matter,” Adam Stern, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 10, 2021
With that in mind, here’s a post that combines our three loves: local journalism by Jack Rightmyer featuring recent books by local authors, most of which are available from local bookstores. Enjoy, and shop local when you can.
Special thanks to the Times Union for permission to reprint Jack’s story.