To celebrate #IndieThursday, I’ve asked authors, bloggers, readers & other lovers of books to write about how independent bookstores have influenced their lives, or the lives of those around them. Today I’m pleased to welcome author Ryan Jacobson! Ryan was very integral in the creation of Indie Thursday! Today Ryan talks about one kind of independent bookstore we often overlook: comic book stores!
Bookstores have never been a big part of my life. I grew up in a family that didn’t read much, in a town without a bookstore. The closest one was almost an hour away. Even now, in my adult life, the nearest bookstore is 30 miles from home. So why am I writing a post to celebrate Indie Thursday? Because there’s one type of independent bookstore I’ve been driving an hour or more to reach since I was sixteen: the often overlooked red-headed stepsister of the “traditional” indie bookstore—the comic book store.
Nowadays comics are a little more mainstream, but back when I was a teen, comic stores felt like a safe haven, a place where it was okay to be a comic book geek. We could congregate, share our like interests and debate such important topics as whether Batman could beat Captain America. (He totally could!)
I didn’t get many chances to visit my favorite comic shop, Rainbow Collectibles in Sioux Falls, SD. So when I did make the trip, it felt like a national holiday. Walking through the doors was stepping into a paradise of everything I loved: toys, trading cards and, of course, comics. I’d save for weeks and bring home at least a month’s worth of reading.
College marked the only years of my life when I lived in the same town as a comic book store—or any type of bookstore, for that matter. Ironically, it was the one time I fell out of love with the medium. (In my defense, so did everyone else. The ’90s were dark years for the comic book industry.)
Eventually comics came back, and so did I. But once again I found myself in a comic book wasteland. Perhaps that’s what makes comic shops so special: They are few and far between. Many of them are little more than boxes and shelves in someone’s garage. Others are megastores that even include rooms set aside for gaming. And I love them all. Just like independent bookstores, indie comic shops aren’t run by money-hungry, greed-driven, talking suits. Each one exists because its owner has a passion. Someone chased their dream. It may not be easy, but they’re living it, one customer at a time.
I understand it all too well because it’s a dream I share. I’d love to someday own my own comic book store. And, hey, if this whole author thing pans out, maybe someday I will.
So, next time you’re planning an Indie Thursday purchase, remember your local (or regional!) comic shop. They deserve your love too.
Ryan Jacobson has always loved choose your path books, so he is thrilled to get a chance to write them. He used his memories of those fun-filled stories and his past experiences to write Lost in the Wild. The book became so popular that he followed it with Storm at the Summit of Mount Everest and Can You Survive: Jack London’s Call of the Wild.
Ryan is the author of nearly 20 books, including picture books, comic books, graphic novels, chapter books and ghost stories. He lives in Mora, Minnesota, with his wife Lora, sons Jonah and Lucas, and dog Boo. For more details, visit RyanJacobsonOnline.com. You are invited to read a free version of the short story Can You Survive: Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum on Ryan’s web site.
Participation in #IndieThursday is simple: just visit your local independent bookstore, either in person or online. Tweet what you purchased, as well as the name of the store, using the hashtag #IndieThursday. Help celebrate indie bookstores!
If you would like to do a guest post on how independent bookstores have influenced your life, please email me at jennsbookshelfATgmailDOTcom.