This is the opening paragraph of an article originally published in my local newspaper. The article, updated and expanded will appear in my upcoming book.
My husband and I owned and I managed a large, independent bookstore in West Lafayette from 1996-2001. In the best of times, customers would be lined up at the front door at 8 a.m. as I carried armfuls of the just-released Tom Clancy book out to the front. A fire would be burning in the fireplace at the center of the store where customers could snuggle up with a book and a free coffee on one of the couches. The shelves were lined with books and other items you couldn’t get anywhere else—art books from France; children’s books from England; 25 cent gently used best- sellers; and greeting cards that made you laugh, even the second time you looked at them. We held children’s story hours and birthday parties and hosted a creative writing group for grownups. Both local and nationally known authors would come in for signings, including Robert Fulghum, who published the still international best seller Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten in 1988. While I was sitting next to him at the signing desk, he told me that he was going to stop writing as he didn’t like how big box book stores were taking over from independents. He didn’t quite hold to this as he tried his hand at novel writing just a couple years ago and I’m glad—life goes on.