That’s What Friends Are For

Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that, in addition to my deep and abiding love for my hometown bookstore, Left Bank Books, I am also a big fan of White Dwarf Books here in Vancouver. Not just a bookstore, they’re a science fiction and fantasy bookstore.

It’s like they created the business with me in mind, right?

Here's Judd waiting for some attention from my friend Ruth Daniell.

Here’s Judd waiting for some attention from my friend Ruth Daniell.

Left Bank, as you may know, is also home to Spike the resident bookstore cat. White Dwarf, on the other hand, is home to Judd, the resident bookstore Bassett hound.

To say that I’m in love with Judd would be a slight understatement.

I confess, I’ve often gone into the store when I haven’t had a book in mind to purchase, but just wanted to go in and say hi to Judd. He is especially adorable when he waddles out from behind the counter and submits to a belly rub.

It also doesn’t hurt that White Dwarf is located just down the street from CocoaNymph, my favorite place to get hot chocolate, and around the corner from Grounds for Coffee, which makes the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had anywhere ever. Even if those two places weren’t in close proximity, I’d still stop in to buy books and pet Judd.

This is Judd getting some quality attention from my friend Francine.

This is Judd getting some quality attention from my friend Francine earlier in the week.

This past weekend I went on a long run with my friends Keith and Katie D, and we finished up at Grounds for Coffee where we met up with our other friends Leon, Ben, Meggie, and Katie H and where, remarkably, I did not order a cinnamon roll. (I had a calzone.) We then went around the corner and most of them met Judd for the first time.

You know what else they all did? They went up to the counter and each ordered a copy of The Unwanted.

For the record, no, I did not cry when they all did that. I knew about it in advance, but nonetheless I was touched.

Even better? The owners of the bookstore remembered me because I’d been in to visit Judd and chat with them and to buy books. In addition to the copies they ordered for my friends, they ordered another copy to put on the shelf.

What’s one copy on a shelf in an indie store in Vancouver compared with the dozens of ebook copies and paperbacks that Amazon could potentially move? Maybe not much, and I won’t begrudge folks if they do buy a book from Amazon—maybe you live in a tiny tiny town (and I’ve lived in tiny tiny towns—let’s hear it for them!) that doesn’t have a bookstore or you’re overseas or your mom gave you an Amazon gift card and you have to buy something with it. But I like the idea of spending my money in my local community and the multiplier effect that can have on my hometown. And, despite my otherwise curmudgeonly nature, I do like knowing the people I’m doing business with.

So, if you’re in Vancouver and find yourself out by 10th and Alma, get a cinnamon bun at Grounds for Coffee, and then go around the corner to White Dwarf, say hi to Judd, and look for my book. If they’re able to sell that copy, it’d make my day.

By the way, there are still four copies of The Unwanted in each Left Bank Books location back in St. Louis. If you’re in town you should check them out, pick up my book, and say hi to Spike.

And if you’re not in town, they deliver.

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