Have you ever thought about the people involved in the production and distribution of your favorite book? Do you ever feel as though you know or understand the author of a book because of how much their work resonated with you? I feel that way about countless works that have made an impact on me, and these authors have inspired me to dream of writing, and even publishing, a novel one day. Through wanting to connect even more to the works I read, I have recently delved into the world of independently published novels and focused more on supporting independent and used booksellers.
Independent booksellers are very important to a community not only for the merchandise they provide, but also for the uniqueness that they bring to an area. For example, the well-known Warwick’s in La Jolla is a fixture in the community. The family-owned business regularly hosts interesting events, sometimes even featuring UC San Diego faculty. Purchasing from independent booksellers is also necessary for keeping small businesses running while also maintaining low costs for customers. The Goodwill chain has some locations that are entirely devoted to used books; they carry fiction, non-fiction, cook books, classics, comics, and graphic novels. I have even encountered the occasional textbook or study aid. All of Goodwill’s books are reasonably priced, with some copies costing as little as $1, and some nice hardcover books only cost upwards of $6 or $7. This is also a great way to support the recycling of resources and books, especially since most are in amazing shape! You can also check out other used booksellers in the La Jolla area, including D.G. Wills Books (which has the largest collection of scholarly books in La Jolla), and our on campus bookstore, Groundwork Books, located in the Old Student Center.
Independent authors also need your support. There are many self-published book awards given out in different categories and genres that can help you find a new author or book to fall in love with. One in particular, the BookLife Prize, aims to “discover great books and support new authors.” This prize is also sponsored by Publisher’s Weekly, and winners receive an author profile in the magazine. Looking into prizes like BookLife, which support independent and new authors, is a great way to find new and interesting books to read. You can browse lists of featured authors or books in your favorite genre. Many people do not realize how impactful purchasing books can be, not only on your own wallets but also on the community. It is time to leave large book corporations behind and unlock the potential that small booksellers can have on your literary life!