One of the benefits of writing my own blog is that I get to write what I want. Today I am going to do an interview with myself about my new book, The Bookstore that Matters, which will soon be available.
So Dave, why did you decide to write this book in the first place?
About three years ago I came across some information that really disturbed me. For many years, the big box bookstores had dominated the landscape in America and then Borders closed. This sudden and massive restructuring of the book retailing world had a really interesting outcome. Independent secular bookstores that belonged to the American Booksellers Association, began growing again. They had been closing in droves for years and now a bunch of new ones were opening. Even authors themselves were getting into the game and opening bookstores for their local communities. At the same time as this was happening independent Christian bookstores continued closing in significant numbers and that trend has not reversed itself.
How does your book respond to this reality?
I am convinced that independent Christian bookstores can grow again and that we need a new generation of bookstore owners and managers. My book’s premise is that if your bookstore matters to the community, people will come, they will shop and the will tell their friends. This new Christian book retailer will need to be agile, adaptable and willing to experiment to meet the needs in his or her community. My book tells the remarkable story of a little bookstore in Philadelphia that did just that. In the face of stiff new competition from the internet, big box secular bookstores, and even Wal-Mart now selling Christian books, this little store grew and thrived.
Why did you decide to self-publish this book rather than find a traditional publishing partner?
This was a tricky decision for me as I am the publisher for CLC Publications and work with many authors in the traditional publishing world. In addition, I have many friends that work for traditional Christian publishers. That said, I recognized that this is a niche book and has a very targeted audience. It is uniquely appropriate for the self-publishing strategy and I wanted to learn how to go about the process myself. Fairly often I will recommend self-publishing to new authors whose books are not well suited to the traditional publishing world and now I can testify to what they will be going through.
What have you learned from the process of writing a book?
Writing a book about something you know or that has happened to you can be a labor of love. For me, this book was a joy to write and stretched me in a lot of important ways. I did realize pretty quickly that I was going to have to take a hiatus from writing my blog in order to create the space and time I needed to tackle a project this big. Working with a team of outsourced professionals was fun and designing the cover proved to be an exciting part of process. I would encourage any serious writer to challenge themselves to take on a book length project at some time in their career.
What are your hopes for this book?
I hope that this book will be an encouragement to current Christian bookstore owners and managers. In addition, I hope to inspire a new generation of retailers that are want to impact their communities. The book contains lots of stories and is a pretty quick read, so I hope that anyone who is working in the Christian book industry will pick it up, read it, recommend it and most importantly, apply the principles that I discuss. My prayer is that the book will be a catalyst for a wider discussion among industry leaders and influencers about how independent Christian retailing can grow and thrive in the years to come.
Look for more details in a future blog post about how to purchase copies of this important new book.