Lambda Rising founder and co-owner Deacon Maccubbin announced that their Washington, DC store will close after 35 years in business at the end of this year, along with their outpot at Rehoboth Beach, DE (launched in 1993). Maccubbin writes on the store’s site, “Closing the store now will certainly leave something of a hole in Washington’s literary and political scene and even though I’m excited about the opportunities that will open up for us as we move into the next phase of our life, there is a bittersweet component to it all. But the book market has been changing dramatically, the glbt community has been making progress by leaps and bounds, and 35 years is enough time for any person to devote to any one thing. It’s just time to move on.”
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez is looking for signs of independent booksellers–which “are much better-suited for engaging with their customers, offline and on, than either behemoth”–fulfilling their promise of community engagement online, in advance of the DBW webinar this Wednesday. But “despite the lip service paid to the importance of independent bookstores to local communities” he has “yet to find any real sense of community on any bookseller’s site. Most are extremely self-centered, either focusing solely on ecommerce; following the personal branding model of social media gurus; or worse, the sad equivalent of a Yellow Pages listing…. What can the independent bookseller possibly offer to get me to spend my time and money on their websites and in their stores?”
The comments thread offers some interesting remarks, including recommendations of sites from Politics & Prose, Joseph-Beth, and Legacy Books.
For a store wrestling thoughtfully with some of those very issues of online engagement, bookseller Jenn from Baltimore-area Breathe Books picks up on Vroman’s post about the Rick Moody Twitter experiment. “What I wanted to do, as someone who made the decision to pull our store feed from the ranks of the co-tweeters on Day 1, is to try and express in some semi-intelligible way why I am so glad someone finally tried something like this.
“I’m glad they did it, because it raised three very important (and very connected) questions for us as a tweeting store: who are we talking to, who is listening, and what is our twitter account for (in no particular order — it’s very chicken-or-egg, if you think about it).” One main reason they stopped the Moody experiment was “radio silence” from followers/customers, which “when you,re doing something that different, is not a good sign.”
As she notes, they have a store Twitter feed for customers and her own feed is meant for “talking to other booksellers/industry professionals.”
The important awareness is her realization that “there are lots of ways that i could ramp up my efforts to turn customers into followers (and vice versa, but that’s a whole other post). I’m beginning to formulate a strategy for exactly that — more on that later.”