The Community Value of Indie Bookstores

My town’s beloved children’s bookstore, the Magic Tree Bookstore, is closing at the end of October due to low customer turnout over the last few years. I am very sad to see our village treasure disappear. I’ve bought several of my nieces’ and nephews’ birthday gifts from this store, and I’ve always enjoyed browsing the aisles and conversing with the friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Presumably, they’ve lost a lot of business because of competitive sales via major online retailers. In a Facebook post, the owner of the Magic Tree said people just aren’t going in to buy books. My guess is even in a #ShopLocal-focused village such as Oak Park, people are choosing to buy the majority of their books online. Of course, this is happening to other types of small businesses, as well as bookstores, all over the U.S.

The loss of small businesses in any town or city underscores the constant need to shop locally. Small businesses not only contribute to the local economy, but also foster the culture of the area. Magic Tree organized several story readings and book signings by various authors. They also hosted other fun events, such as a children’s Christmas choir performance.

Fortunately, we still have a few indie bookstores throughout the Chicagoland area. Here is a good article from IndieBound on the value of buying books from independent bookstores. On the same site, you can find local, independent bookstores near you: Indie Bookstore Finder.