I began writing this blog three years ago on the 4th of July, 2011. My first post was called “Celebrating Writer Independence.” Basically, that has been the theme ever since. My husband was still alive then and on the big night of July 4th, he stood behind me as I sat at my computer, his hands supportively on my shoulders, and with the fireworks literally going off outside, he asked, “Well, are you ready?” “I’m ready,” I said and with my heart pounding as I clicked the “Publish” button — and my blog was born!
“I’m a blogger!” I shouted. It was exciting!
What a country!
I’ve been fully immersed in “indie” ever since. I became a publishing company; I “indie” published my own book, The Therapist Writer, as well as the books of two other authors, and I’m about to publish two more. I’ve been reading about “indie,” talking “indie,” teaching “indie,” and breathing “indie” ever since. I run a writer’s group and all we do is talk about indie publishing and mourn the closing of bookstores all around us. We meet at CROWN Books in Woodland Hills, California, and it’s our third bookstore. The others we once met at have blown away.
So, imagine my delight one day as I was walking along Sherman Way in nearby Canoga Park and glanced into a store window — and found myself eye-level with the above sign: “I Refuse to Participate in a Recession.” It was then that I realized that I was looking into a bookstore. Not an old dusty bookstore that was on the verge of going the way of the others, but a new-ish looking bookstore, neat and tidy and bright blue with two cozy arm chairs right up front. And I could see a man behind a counter — reading a book.
“This I gotta see,” I said to myself, and I marched in. I just had to find out the story behind that sign.
Here’s the Story
After thirty-eight years in the corporate world, Boyd Davis told me, “I realized I was in a financial position to do what I wanted, so I opened a bookshop in Woodland Hills. Then I needed more space so I moved here.” That’s it. That’s the story. While other men his age in a similar financial position may be out there golfing, traveling, or going on cruises, Davis is in his shop, reading.
“How do you start a bookshop?” I asked. I’d never really thought about it before. After all, if you’re a Barnes & Noble or Costco they probably send you books from a distributor, but how do you start off when you’re on your own?
“At first I contributed my own personal collection of books, and then I bought some from library sales, and I also had book scouts hunting for books. Then people started bringing in books.” While Davis doesn’t ordinarily take books on consignment, he is open to talking to local authors about carrying their books on a case-by-case basis. (Crown Books in Woodland Hills also takes kindly to local authors who may display their books and set their own prices.)
(Above) A section of the children’s section.
What’s the “Next Chapter” in Publishing?
It’s hard to say what’s on the horizon in the publishing industry. Will more publishers tank? Will “indie” publishing fill the gap? Will more bookstores bite the dust? Are we all swimming upstream? Possibly, but those of us who are “into indie” don’t care. Being in charge of the game is what’s fun!
In fact, the day before the July 4th holiday I drove past Next Chapter Books and glanced inside. Boyd Davis was in one of the big, cozy armchairs — reading.
(c) 2014 Sylvia Cary, LMFT