With today’s news that the Anderson family plans to buy up more Books A Million stock, we’d like to put aside our competive sword for a second and celebrate what a thriving book industry we have here in Alabama. Books A Million is headquartered here. Our Birmingham Barnes and Noble still performs well nationally. And, not to brag or anything, but we have some of the most excellent local bookshops in the nation.
Who knows what will happen to the book industry, or to our shop, or to Books A Million. But we’re proud that a huge number of Alabamians still seem to understand that, in order for bookstores to thrive, we must shop at our local shops. We’re proud that Birminghamians read so much that the second-biggest bookstore chain in the nation is headquartered here, and that we’re once again part of the conversation about the future of bookstores.
Here’s an excerpt about this same topic that Carrie wrote for her Shop Small blog a few months ago. We think it’s especially appropriate today:
The concept that Alabamians are stupid is, well, ignorant. Just look at our book industry. In a world where bookshops are supposed to be closing right and left, ours are thriving. Books A Million — you might know them as that store that’s expanding into several abandoned Borders shops — is headquartered here. And we have an abnormally high number of thriving independent bookstores. In fact, last time I looked at the statistics, we had more than Chicago has.
Not to brag or anything (in case you missed it, I own a bookstore), but Birmingham has some amazing bookshops. It doesn’t matter how or what you like to read — Southern literature, used books, experiential fiction, eBooks, signed first editions, cyberpunk — there’s a local store that specializes in it and will hook you up with exactly the books you’re looking for.
We’re Alabamians, and, yes, we care about football. But we also care deeply about tradition, story, and character — and that means we care about books. Anyone who says otherwise just hasn’t bothered to check.