Bacon power

You have power. You’re fairly bristling with it. It sizzles off your flesh like bacon in a pan. You like power, don’t you? You like bacon? Here’re a few ways you can exert it this week.

1. Buy a book from an independent bookseller.

Last week, San Diego’s oldest bookstore abruptly closed its doors after 74 years of business. This kind of thing is happening a lot, unfortunately. The American Booksellers Association reports its membership roster declining from 4700 independent bookstores to 1900 last year. One need not launch a screed against chains and big-box retailing to see the loss as a bad thing. When you buy from a local independent, you’re keeping tax dollars in your community. When you buy from any independent, you’re giving the power of deciding what books get sold to thousands of individuals rather than concentrating it in the hands of a very few number of corporate buyers.

If you don’t have a local independent bookstore, try one in another city. Many of them have websites these days and do online sales. Don’t know where to start? Try IndieBound, a network of independent bookstores. The IndieBound site lets you search for a title, and then it’ll ask you for your zip code to locate an indie shop near you where you can either pick up the book or order it. Many of them handle e-book sales as well.

I’m not saying you should support crappy bookstores, but most of the very best are indies.

2. Support Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is the longest-operating SF online short fiction magazine. A lot of writers, including some of those here at the Magic District, got started by publishing short fiction at Strange Horizons and places like Strange Horizons. They’re a SFWA pro-market, operated by a large cabal of volunteers, and they’re solely funded by reader donations. They’ve just started their 2009 fund drive, and donors get entered in a drawing to win fabulous prizes, like books or services or original art.

3. Tell an author you liked their book or story or article or poem or whatever.

Because when a reader takes the time and trouble to tell me they liked something I wrote? That’s really powerful bacon.

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