Wee Book Inn closing its 118th Avenue store is a reminder to support our local booksellers0
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In more than one way, with thousands of points of the utterly unpredictable, spots like Wee Book Inn are the antidote to pinpoint-filtered algorithms that supposedly give us “what we want” online and in social media — and yet, by design, have left so many of us very intentionally addicted and always wanting more, with a sub-goldfish imprint of the experience.
Quick, tell me what the first social media post you saw last Monday was. No? But bet you a nickel you can remember the last book you read from. Mine is the first Conan novel (I’m in a low fantasy stage, sorry) once signed by and belonging to “B. Irwin,” bought long ago when Wee Book Inn still had five stores to stamp on the inside cover.
As my sister summed up when we spoke about one fewer cat-populated bookstore in her midst, “use it or lose it.” And so to end this love letter to local bookstores, all of them, I can’t stress enough how much they appreciate your engagement, as safely as you feel comfortable — phone calls are just fine, and they’ll even put your name on watch lists if what you want is there yet.
Of course I’m going to miss that Wee Book Inn branch, with its big swath of Western novels and collage art on the wall — hats off to longtime manager Anne Olson, by the way. But to make sure the other WBIs and all the other stores still going keep going, it’s pretty obvious what needs to happen. A great book, after all, is nothing but an ornament without you reading it.
But an empty bookstore? Well, let’s not even linger on the idea …