Again I think about my week at the Religious Book Trade Exhibit in St. Charles, IL and am even more aware of the effects of the economy and the age of computers on our bookstores today. I felt the loss of many of our smaller stores as I sat in on meetings and wandered through the aisles to buy books for our own store. There were many discussions about e-books and there is always mention of the biggest competitor for stores, Amazon. How can we compete? What will e-books do to the market? How can we be a part of that business? Many questions, many answers, fewer brick and mortar stores.
But there was encouragement amongst us and there was positive feedback and potential support. There was a workshop given by Lisa Hendey about social media and how our bookstores can get on board to advertise our stores and our events and our products. There was a talk given during lunch by Sr. Joan Chittister praising bookstores and publishers and below are a few of her words. These words, these workshops, these gatherings help to keep the fire going in our work to light the next candle. These words rejuvenate and encourage us in times when it is "easier" not to be supported locally. I'm not whining. Don't worry. I'd just occasionally like to remind others to "Support your local Catholic Bookstore" whenever possible so they can continue and maybe not just survive, but thrive. If you do not have one near you, support an online store that perhaps you have been to in another city or know of in some way more personally. And, thank you to all who already do. We are grateful.
Sr. Joan - "It is you, in other words, publishers and book sellers, who face the questions for us all, who keep the questions alive, who make questions the footpath on the way to God—whatever the era, whatever the challenge, whatever the threat to freedom of thought and the perils of personal faith in an institutional time.
As the people of God, we owe you much.
As an institution, the church owes you even more.
The books you publish, the books you put on your shelves seed the soul of tomorrow.
More than that, they enable the thinking Christian to go on when the church lights go out and ideas big enough to show the way are being veiled by those who prefer the comfort of darkness. You are the keepers of the ministry of the Word. Who understand that it is sacred and who, in whatever form, keep it well.
You are the keepers of questions that are soul-sized, that are dangerous, perhaps, but that are necessary if any of us are ever to be true to the Gospel we preach."