Monday, November 15, 2021

Buy-a-Book (maybe even *before*) Saturday: broken-supply-chain edition

 It's that time again. With the added wrinkle this year that most anything physical is in short supply and/or stuck on a ship waiting to offload. Books included ...

Regularly since 2010, shortly before Thanksgiving, I've posted about Buy-a-Book Saturday. That's my personal variation on Small Business Saturday: the day (specifically, the second day after Thanksgiving, and one day after retail's infamous Black Friday) on which holiday shoppers are especially encouraged to patronize small businesses. The big-box stores and Internet giants will do fine this holiday season. But will neighborhood stores, non-chain shops, and boutiques?

What with the supply-chain problems, even to wait till close to that Saturday (falling quite late this year: November 27) might not be the best of strategies.

Rara avis! Is that a book store?

Why do I promote the buy-a-book variant? Because what business is smaller than the author toiling away by him- or herself? Because, as I (and many others) post from time to time, the publishing business keeps getting tougher -- especially for authors. Because more than likely you're a reader, else you wouldn't have stopped by this blog.

Because this year has been harder on small businesses, authors included, than most. Paper for printers is just one thing stuck in supply-chain snarls.

So: I'm here to suggest you give serious consideration to books -- whether print or electronic or audio -- for some of your holiday gifting. Friends, relatives, coworkers, your kids' teachers and coaches, the local library you support ... surely there's a book that's right for each of them. And at least one book for yourself, of course ;-)

Suppose you're at a brick-and-mortar bookstore -- assuming said business survived the pandemic so far and/or venturing out isn't once again an unacceptable risk where you are -- and a book or author you had in mind isn't to be found on the shelf. Not a problem! Almost certainly, the store will be happy to special-order books for you. (Why? Because  they'd much rather do a special order than have you go home and order online for yourself.)

Am I pushing books I myself have written? Unavoidably, if only by implication. (If you do consider any title of mine ... however you happen to decide, I appreciate that.) That said, I intend this annual appeal more broadly. This blog concerns itself mostly with science and SF, but I don't limit today's notion even to those broad topics.

If you're in need of inspiration, not to worry. For many years I've posted about a few books -- SF, non-genre fiction, science, and other nonfiction -- that I personally found noteworthy. Here are links to those posts:
Anything else you can do? Sure! Check your fave authors' websites for direct-purchase options such as (full disclosure, I'm in this category) participation in Amazon's sales-associates program. Order a book(s) by clicking through from the author's link and he or she will get a (small) referral commission from the e-tailer in addition to the publisher's (small) royalty payment.

And isn't this the perfect time to fill out that series you started some time ago and keep meaning to continue?

Seeing as how you're in a mellow holiday mood (you are, aren't you?), you might also consider extending the gift of support: posting reviews of, and awarding stars to, your favorite books on Amazon, Goodreads, Librarything, or other services/stores. A review won't cost you a cent, and it'll help the authors. Majorly. For more on this idea, see "Notes from *far* outside my comfort zone."

There you have it: Buy-a-Book Saturday! (Not to mention the obvious extension of the concept to Cyber Monday! Perhaps also a Writerly Wednesday or an Authorial Thursday. And throughout the holiday season. Heck, any time.) Nourish the meme! Spread the word! Buy a book!

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