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Pickle Me This

June 13, 2019

We Need Each Other: Part Two

No writer is an island, as much as many of them try to fashion themselves as such. But those of us who are paying attention know how everything is connected. (Do read Kimmy Beach on how injections are friendship are essential to the writing life!). Which is why I think that having a bookstore with only four books in it is a thing that really matters.

Okay, hear me out.

Four books, each by writers who live in different parts of the country, published by four different Canadian independent publishers. But these books look good together, and side by side they’re selling a few more copies than they would have on their own. And as a Canadian writer, I benefit from this, even though my own book is not one of the four, not least because as a Canadian writer I am necessarily a Canadian reader, and so everything that promotes good books and reading is to my benefit. But also because getting these great books into the hands of great readers serves to enrich our reading culture, and a rich reading culture serves every single one of us with books to sell, even if it’s not my book they’re selling.

This is also why we’re encouraging readers to seek out Briny Books titles at their local indie bookstores, if they’re lucky enough to have one. Yes, indeed, we’ve got free shipping, but I personally know that a trip to the bookstore is even more exciting than a book in the post (even with the free shipping). Our mail order business is intended to woo the reader who is wedded to Amazon purchases or who has to drive for miles to land at a place that sells books at all, let alone excellent ones. But all readers and writers benefit from a culture in which indie bookstores are thriving, and so we want to help that happen. With bookselling too, as with reading, writing, and everything, it’s way more fun when you’re doing it together. It’s not a contest, or a race—it’s a network.

I want to challenge our notions of scarcity. Or maybe rather to acknowledge that even within a culture of scarcity, a spirit of of generosity is powerful, and that we will always have more when we have it together, because what we have in each other is actually priceless.

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