I popped into Write of Spring over at the fantastic Once Upon a Crime bookstore here in the Mini-Apple. They do this open house thing every year to allow their customers to meet and get books signed by MN authors - all on one day. Pat took pity on me and let me crash the party as I'm a WI boy. It's a great event and clearly demonstrates how a smart independent bookstore can distinguish themselves from a chain. Don't get me wrong, I love all bookstores as long as they sell my book - but there is something truly special about an independent mystery bookstore. No Borders or B&N could pull something like this off.
As I mentioned above, I really was a party crasher there as my book doesn't come out for a couple more months so I didn't have anything to contribute to the sales process. But I got some yummy lemonade and cookies and got to chat with some authors and rub elbows with some knowledgeable readers. A guy could spend a worse couple hours on a warm spring day. And it does the soul good to see that in these days of big boxes and loss-leader fantasy novels that a smart bookstore can thrive - and have fun doing it.