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indieThe Davis fight against Borders        indieusing PLASTIC CARDS - how you pay & how much it costs a business
indie Why Buy Local? - you ask, we answer        indie QUOTES from the world of books - booksellers, publishers, authors, & more

indieCalifornia Independent Bookstores & Your Community - independents vs Amazon
indieIndieBound - find out more        indieDeclaration of Independent Bookstores


  .PEACE LOVE BOOKSeat sleep readsnack nap readpeace love books



The American Business Alliance created a series of posters with the following reasons.
They're well put and offer a bountiful feast - aka lots of food for thought. I pass their thoughts on to you.

Building Community
The casual encounters you enjoy at neighborhood businesses and the public spaces
around them build relationships and local cohesiveness. They're the ultimate social networking sites.

Economic Vitality
Each dollar you spend at a local independent business returns 3 times more money
to our local economy than one spent at a chain - a benefit we all can bank on.

Why did you choose to live here?
What keeps you?
Independent businesses help give our community its one-of-a-kind personality.

A Healthier Environment
Independent, community-serving businesses are people-sized.
They consume less land, carry more locally-made products,
and locate closer to residents - creating less traffic and pollution.

Lower Taxes
Local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services than most chains
and generate more tax revenue per sales dollar, helping keep your taxes lower.


- - - - -  -  - - - -  - - -- - - - - - -- - -  - - - -  -- - --  - --  - - --  - - - - --  - - -  -    - ----


Let's talk about what independent means
When you shop at an independently-owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy
Spend $100 at a local store and
$68 of that stays in your community.
Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
More of your taxes are reinvested in your community—where they belong.

The Environment
Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community
Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

Now is the time to stand up and join in supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.



indie California Independent Bookstores and Your Community

A Partnership That Really Clicks

California Independents


Number of in-store author
appearances in last year:
Over 4,000

Amount of donations to local
community organizations last year:
Over $100,000

Number of local people employed:
Over 3,000

Sales tax collected and paid to
support schools, social services,
and public agencies last year:
Over $10 million

Number of in-store author
appearances in last year:

Amount of donations to local
community organizations last year:

Number of local people employed:

Sales tax collected and paid to
support schools, social services,
and public agencies last year:

A message from California independent booksellers


IndieBoundDeclaration of IndieBound

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for individuals to denounce the corporate bands which threaten to homogenize our cities and our souls, we must celebrate the powers that make us unique and declare the causes which compel us to remain independent.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all stores are not created equal, that some are endowed by their owners, their staff, and their communities with certain incomparable heights, that among these are Personality, Purpose and Passion. The history of the present indies is a history of experiences and excitement, which we will continue to establish as we set our sights on a more unconstrained state. To prove this, let’s bring each other along and submit our own experiences to an unchained world.

We, therefore, the Kindred Spirits of IndieBound, in the name of our convictions, do publish and declare that these united minds are, and darn well ought to be, Free Thinkers and Independent Souls. That we are linked by the passions that differentiate us. That we seek out soul mates to share our excitement. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the strength of our identities, we respectively and mutually pledge to lead the way as we all declare that we are IndieBound!

IndieBound.org community
IndieBound Bestsellers List



indie  Declaration of Independents

As cities, towns, and neighborhoods deal with the changing landscape of their local business community, we, the independent booksellers of California, reaffirm our commitment to our communities. Independent bookstores value our place in the community, as well as our ongoing connections within it. We’d like to offer some other defining thoughts about independent bookstores.

INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS talk with our customers directly and enjoy fulfilling - even exceeding - their expectations, whether its recommending a great book we’ve just read, or helping you discover new or little known authors or publishers.

INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES have an onsite owner - we’re right there answering questions and making decisions, rather than relying on a corporate office, thousands of miles away.

are leaders in the fight against censorship and other threats to freedom of expression.

reflect the character of our communities. We support local causes. We participate in and fund community activities. We patronize other local businesses and keep our money in the community.

* Some thoughts brought to you by Raven's Tale and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.



indie PLASTIC - Most people just don't think about it ... how you pay for something matters ... a lot!
It goes beyond if you, as the consumer,
- have credit on your credit card
- or money in your checking account,
- or even money in your pocket.
The way you pay the merchant for your new stuff can involve some big costs for that merchant, that person just on the other side of the counter. That merchant can improve their inventory, pay their employees better, get new fixtures, maybe just paint the front door OR they can pay thousands of dollars more selling the same goods ... because of HOW the customer chooses to pay for those items.

Paying with Plastic? How you pay can cost a merchant BIG.
In one 5 year period - we paid 'plastic' middlemen $26,888.54  
to process customer charge and debit cards.

As store owners, we always liked CASH and CHECKS over any plastic card (charge, debit, or whatever) because a card always means fees are collected by a series of middlemen/handlers/services that transfer/link and charge for that sale to get all the way from you, through several services, to our bank account. We don't pay big fees when you use cash and checks.

Whenever plastic cards are involved, it costs merchants money.
$26,888.54 in card fees we paid is for:
     - discount (interest) charges,
     - transaction fees,
     - item fees,
     - processing fees,
     - batch header fees,
     - statement fees,
     - debit access fees,
     - debit administrative fees,
     - customer service fees,
                               and more.

For a business that must watch every penny ... that’s a lot of pennies.

Plastic cards have turned shopping into a series of loans with interest and fees, has given out some mileage and gift rewards, and have charged every retailer for accepting this plastic. Generally, the more benefits the cardholder get from their card, the more it costs a merchant to take it. Every time you pay with plastic ... the retailer pays extra ... and most times, you pay extra ... remember interest?! This is all for convenience. Something to think about. So, remember -

If it makes no difference to you ... most merchants prefer cash or check.
Thanks for your time and understanding - Vicky & John



Backroom deals were made in Davis before the people had a say - and then we got involved

   The community of Davis, California was told that a Borders big box was coming into the downtown, to anchor a big shopping center, after the deal had been sealed between the city and the UC Davis overlords. Vicky and I, and a number of other business started collecting information, and then over 4,000 signatures of community members to ask the city and the Sacramento developer to consider bringing to Davis a business that was actually needed. Davis needed many different kinds of retail, like clothing, electronics, many other products, but instead this outside developer, who already had a relationship with Borders, was heavily pushing big box books. Books were a product that the city's own economic studies had already found to be over-served in the city, meaning we had so many book outlets that people came from outside the community. The citizens efforts stirred things up at city council meetings, got lots of people talking and writing letters to the newspaper, and there were countless stories and interviews in area newspapers and on area radio and TV stations.

   In the end, we could not change the deal that the "powers that be" had settled on beforehand, but it got people involved in trying to influence where their own city was going ... even if it didn't stop Borders.



    we NEED underwear
pencil FIST
This a sign I made up during our Borders battle.

Our sign ended up in quite a few downtown shop windows...thanks again for the support from those merchants and cafes. We just wanted to get people talking and thinking about what made Davis special, and to realize there were already ten bookstores in town, but precious few places to buy basics—like underwear. A big box bookseller would only bring us more of what we had plenty of, and NO UNDERWEAR. How about some clothing stores, electronics and the many other goods that weren't in town we asked the developer.

But, alas, as a famous man is still singing—You Don't Always Get What You Want. Unfortunately, with Borders, the town didn't get what it needed either. So, what was once a great book town, saw Borders move in, kill off many of those ten bookstores, and then collapse under the weight of its poor business model and countless bad decisions.
Let's hope Davis as a book town can find a way to recover. - John



indieHere's a little something I wrote back when our store was in Davis and we were fighting an oncoming Borders. - John

Who controls planning in Davis?

POINT A: The city has a retail study done. It finds 45%of Davis' over all shopping needs are satisfied out of town. More than 80% of clothing, home furnishings, and department store merchandise is bought else where. In contrast, our bookstores were found to meet the community's needs and even to bring in out of town shoppers. The study was to be a guide for planning the future retail development of Davis.

POINT B: A 20,000 sq. ft. book superstore is to anchor a mall at the worst traffic chokepoint in town. Does this look like good planning or common sense?

Arriving at point B was assured when many of the planning choices were left to Sacramento developer, Mark Friedman. Instead of the clothing store anchor mentioned earlier in the planning process, once he had the planners' trust he ran for the Borders and asked them to SHOW ME THE MONEY. Since book superstore money is good for Friedman's wallet at Roseville, Elk Grove, Fair Oaks Boulevard, and Arden Fair, it's no surprise that Friedman's wallet decided that Borders money was good for his Davis mall. Let's get out of his wallet and ask one question. Should Friedman's wallet be planning our future? This wallet would ignore the needs of the people, for ever alter our down town, force businesses out, and gut one of the few sectors of retail that fulfills our city's needs.

The developer, Borders, some city council members, and others weave fantasies of superstores being "good news" for independent book stores - some are lying, some are engaged in wishful thinking, and others are simply misinformed. My wife, Vicky, and I have more than 45 years of bookselling experience, all across the country, and we have never met one independent bookseller experiencing this "good news." What has been the news? Since the 1970's, the in de pen dents share of the bookselling market has eroded from 58% to 19%. The four largest chains now control 26% of the market. The last 18 months have seen 260 in de pen dents forced to close. This is the shrinking diversity of choice that Bob Dunning doesn't see as a loss.
The developer and our mayor offered Palo Alto as an exception to the national rule of chain ruination of independents. Vicky called most of Palo Alto's independent bookstores after a Chamber spokesperson stated that Borders was "not a negative impact." None had been contacted by the Chamber and, after hearing about the article, only one distant, used bookstore, would, with numerous qualifications, kind of agree with it. Comparing Davis and Palo Alto is tomatoes and computer chips. It's like comparing Davis independents to Palo Alto's giant, older, nationally-known independents. Major in de pen dents and specialized niche bookstores stand the only chance of fighting off this nationwide plague of homogenized, discount superstores.
After Friedman repeatedly said that different stores weren't interested in Davis because the market wasn't here, I asked him how that same market could support a Borders superstore. His answer was that Borders feels there are enough unspent book dollars to support this big box that would be bigger than all of our downtown bookstores put together. Having managed both chain and independent bookstores in Davis for close to 15 years, I must be blind to all those millions of book dollars that Borders sees all the way from Ann Arbor, Michigan. If I'm blind, are the rest of the Davis booksellers illiterate because they can't read the book market like Borders? Jerry Kaneko's cable TV theories about book market saturation aside, the fact is that the money just isn't there folks.

Competition is tough in Davis. Gayle's Books gave up the struggle after 30 years. We worked with the owners and came up with a creative solution to make a depressing transition easier. Independent bookstores compete and cooperate. Referring customers and working together to find each store's fit in the market's delicate balance is what being part of a book community is about. A superstore doesn't seek to become part of a book community. It means to replace it.

Borders would arrive with such backing that making a profit could wait while they capture the market for themselves. This superstore would be seven times the size of our largest independent bookstore, bigger than all combined, and just two blocks away from most. If this anchor was dropped on our retail ecosystem, the economic waves would spread quickly. The Next Chapter, to survive, would be forced to move away. Several other bookstores would fail, and all would be damaged. Borders Group Incorporated would close its Davis Waldenbooks. UC Davis, after selling the land to Friedman, will see that they have shot themselves in their own bookstore's foot. The shopping and social style of downtown Davis would be forever changed as much of the existing retail energy is drained from the present businesses. Instead of strolling between the local shops on our downtown streets, many people will be left fighting to get into the mall's parking lot for that one-stop-shopping, could-be-anywhere-in-the-US, chain-shopping experience.

Our City Council majority could reflect our community. It could be concerned about the local businesses that create our downtown. Recent development decisions expose a pro-business attitude of simply going for the biggest businesses that will come, without a thought to how destructive Wall Street can be to Main Street. Compatibility and scale have lost out to a lust for sales tax dollars. We should be adding to our retail sector, not burying it and building on its grave. Friedman could be more than a one-trick-pony, if, instead of dropping the same formulaic mall on Davis, he chose to DEVELOP a market not DESTROY one. He could look beyond his mall's parking lot and create something in scale with, and a complement to this community.
It can be done.

(In the beginning, as well as in the end, the Davis City Council listened to the developer's wallet and we moved our store out of Davis.)



indieHere's a letter to the local newspaper about the fight against Borders coming to Davis. - Vicky

we NEED underwear

A Word From The Next Chapter

First, I must introduce myself. My name is Vicky Panzich, and I am one of the whiners that Bob Dunning took to task in his last Sunday column. I am one of the retailers who views the arrival of a Borders superstore at the Aggie Villa development as, well, a bad thing. Dunning made a startling comparison in his diatribe; he believes that the superstores competing with independent stores in Davis would be like Shell and Chevron duking it out for the market. This is a truly bizarre notion, and I'll try to explain why this is so:

Independent bookstores, in general, and we at The Next Chapter, in particular, do not have over 1,000 stores dotted across the landscape. We have one store that we've nurtured along for the last 10 years.

The head of our store is not a CEO who lives in a mansion (my husband, John, and I rent), nor are we paid enormous salaries for doing such things as locating existing markets (usually where there are successful independents), moving huge megastores into those areas, and killing all competition.

We try to hire employees who have some knowledge of books ... we try to create an environment for them that makes it a pleasure to come to work ... and, hardest of all, we try to pay them a livable wage. Both John and I have worked for chains -- they do none of these things. As a manager of a chain store, I had to fight for each 10 cent per hour raise I wanted to give an employee. We worked in a stifling environment where the placement of every book was dictated by the home office and local interest books were ignored.

The biggest and most basic difference between independents and chains, as Rod Steiger and I see it, is that independents have something more in mind with their business than just profit. Each time I get discouraged about our financial situation, someone comes by to let us know that they appreciate our being here and that what we are trying to do is important to them. Not only do they let us know with their kind words, but many of our friends and family have put their money on the line to help us avoid bounced checks and big men who break legs. The something more that we have in mind involves selling a commodity with value (in many cases, more value than it retails for). We don't equate our products (books) with soap. We also try to safeguard the authors' rights to say and write what they want. Chains have a history of backing out on this trust. As soon as Rushdie's fatwa was issued, the chains pulled "Satanic Verses" off the shelves. More recently, Michael Moore's "Downsize This" tour was interrupted and some speaking engagements cancelled by Borders because they didn't like what he had to say. Independents, generally, fight to keep books and ideas accessible for those who want them.

Have I made my point? We independents are not chains, nor do we aspire to be. To suggest that we should welcome them as competition or to say that they are good for a community is ridiculous. We have been competing for the book dollar in Davis for 10 years, but we have been competing with other independents or small chains on a level playing field. Superstores receive favorable and incidentally, illegal treatment from publishers and distributors all the time -- they also have unending sources of money to allow them to stay on the scene until they have eliminated all competition. We do not. Dunning's advice to us -- to get better -- is good advice. We have taken it as marching orders since we started our business and will continue to do so until we feel that we can't compete -- that will happen when a superstore moves into Davis. Couldn't we (or I should say, the developer) acknowledge that Davis has an abundance of bookstores and that the arrival of a predatory superstore would signal the demise of at least some of them? Couldn't we acknowledge that we need other types of retail in town? Bringing Borders to Davis is not going to create the competition of Chevron and Shell; it is bringing coals to Newcastle.

we NEED underwear



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