Bookstores are a reader's wet dream. Shelve upon shelve is filled with books from every genre and sub-genre. It's heaven.
Independent bookstores are a fading literary art. The atmosphere provided from these stores' coffee bars and books rival that of big corporations. Shopping local matters. Shopping independently matters. It gives more money to the local economy, which in turn can drive down costs for product.
Personally, I work for an indie bookstore, and the crowd it draws are the local hipsters and older men in the area who are too lazy and or too cool to drive twenty minutes into a neighboring city to their Books a Million and Starbucks. Most patrons of today's bookstores are the stereotypical freaks and geeks, however, our storefront does not see a lot of them. Why is that?
Why does our community drive
Why give your money to a corporation that does not truly care about your name, or the quirky ways you like your coffee? To the people who could care less if you get your book on time or not? Or the people that scowl every time you ask them a question and or pull through their drive thru line for your morning coffee run?
The baristas and booksellers at indie bookstores care. They remember your orders, how you prefer your coffee with a certain cream or flavor, or how you like your pastries warmed for thirty-five seconds instead of thirty. Most of these stores even have loyalty programs and cool discounts.
The most fun I personally have ever had has been at independent bookstore release parties for different series. It's more close-knit and tightly ran. The promotions are not "in your face and down your throat" at all. Just book lovers coming together with other book lovers for an afternoon of trivia, food, etc.
Recently, the bookstore I work at, has started working on bringing in tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, etc. to market more to the area's nerds who never really stop by. We want the community involved and in our store, because without the community we are going to disappear. Shopping local should always come first over big corporations. We can order the same books chain bookstores can order. We can make almost every drink (I say almost, because I have no idea what people are talking about when they ask if I can add chocolate chips to their frappucinos) chain coffee shops can make.
Independent stores matter to the community. Independent stores matter because the workers care if they get your beverage 100% correct or not.
I challenge you to shop local at your indie bookstore and see what treasures you can find.