Plaid Friday

Wed 23 Nov 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

What with holiday shipping deadlines approaching and all the fuss about Friday, I wanted to put in a word for a fun thing the folks at the Odyssey Books in South Hadley told us about when we did our Steampunk! event there a couple of weeks ago. Apparently this Friday is being relabeled from Black Friday to Plaid Friday!

What?

Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday”, and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.”

And what are Odyssey Books doing?

“This year Pioneer Valley Local First members are volunteering a portion of their sales to CISA’s Emergency Farm Fund that offers loans to local farmers affected by Hurricane Irene.”

I always recommend going to an indie store—if possible—for your books. We have links to Powell’s on our site and our book pages have links to the Broadside Bookstore here in Northampton. Last year they came to us with the idea of having a Small Beer Press section in their store where we could keep all our titles, including all the backlist, in front of readers: how awesome is that?

Why do we bother fighting the tide of huge big box stores and online behemoths? Because they’re intent on being everything to everyone and shutting down all other voices.

“Really?”

I think so, yes. They’d like us to buy one of their machines and then read, listen, and watch everything we want on it. And of course buy everything (from books to washing machines) using it. Just jack me into the mainframe now, thanks.

Every time each of us buys anything we have a choice. Sometimes that’s too much to think about. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about once and making a decision. We print all our books in the US—or occasionally Canada—on 30% post-consumer recycled paper using one of a few smaller printing firms, often C-M Books or Thomson-Shore. It was an easy decision to print domestically as we can’t be sure of the treatment the workers receive nor the environmental standards the companies are kept to abroad. Also, if we want to keep decent jobs available here, it seems worth printing books here.

This Saturday in our hometown, Northampton, was “Bag Day”—a surprisingly fun event where the town distributes a paper shopping bag in the local newspaper (shout out to the Daily Hampshire Gazette*!) and then just about every store in town gives you 20% off one item (or many items . . .). The streets were heaving, there were even more street musicians than usual, people were out doing public art, there was street food, it’s great fun as well as getting people in to shop at the local stores and keep the downtown vibrant.

Sure, we all shop at bigger stores and shops in other towns but I buy books at Broadside so that in five years time they will still be there. It’s selfish as much as altruistic. (Broadside also have a frequent buyer card which gives you a 10% discount on everything.)

I hope you’ll consider doing the same. Thanks for your time.

* Any local reader want a free subscription? I have one available!

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