“All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.”
“What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.”
Book Expo America — a movable feast of authors, booksellers, and publishers — is always a huge draw. Held in Chicago this year, BEA 2016 unveiled upbeat news for independent booksellers. According to the Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Bookseller’s Association (ABA), 2015 was a strong year and sales by indies have risen a solid 5% through April of 2016. In the past seven years, ABA members have increased almost 30 percent. Indie booksellers have rebounded as a result of four factors said Teicher: the “buy local” movement; new technology; better business practices; and the “unparalleled ability of independent booksellers to connect authors and readers.”
Clearly, there’s a lot to celebrate here. Little wonder that Richard Russo, winner of the 2016 Indie Champion Award, thanked booksellers with some inspiring comments:
“Booksellers…alert readers to what’s new, emerging writers, like Ricard Russo 30 years ago, whose existence most readers did not even suspect. By which I mean to say that the relationship between writers, publishers, independent booksellers and
readers is even more vital today than it was 30 years ago. Amazon, Google, Apple — they all sell a lot of books, but they’re not in the book business. They are in the business of business. They’re not book people. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad, but they are different from us because we are book people. It’s not just what we sell, it’s who we are.
“The noisier the culture gets, the more we crave quiet, stillness. Because beneath the noise and the sheer philosophy of life, there is still a conversation going on, the conversation of the democracy. And that conversation is still taking place in the form of books, books written and read. And it’s because it’s still important that we strain
to hear that conversation. We need to know who’s saying what and what things ring true and authentic. When we press books upon one another — authors on their publishers, publishers on booksellers, booksellers on readers — we are doing what we’ve always done and always for the same reason. You’ll like this, we tell each other. This is worth your while. This will cheer you up. This will break your heart. This will help you understand. Here, right here, is your new best friend, this book.”
Insightful, empowering words. Book people, unite — and write on!