Tuesday, April 1, 2014

galleries and bookstores

I just love independent bookstores.  I can't help but spend a lot of money every time I go into them.  Why?  Because I love to read.  More than that, I love to handle books.  I love the graphics on the cover.  I love the blurbs on the back.  I love it when the staff of a bookstore takes the time to write out a description of their favorite books and post them on little cards to share with the rest of us.  I have been led to so many good books this way!

One of my favorite bookstores is in Scottsdale, Arizona, The Poisoned Pen.  I get their email blasts, but, more importantly, every time I visit Scottsdale I make a conscious choice to visit them and come away with a stack of books to fill my suitcase with.

This morning I got the bookstore's newest email blast and it struck me how similar galleries are to independent book stores.  Our industry is moving more and more to on-line sales.  In fact, many galleries have closed their doors and operate solely from websites or through Amazon and other on-line stores.

I believe, like a good independent bookstore, there is no substitute for seeing the real thing at an art gallery.  Hey, I'm not knocking on-line sales, I have come to depend on them.  The challenge for galleries that have a physical space is how do we compete in and with the digital supermarket. 

Here's what the owner of The Poisoned Pen wrote today:

Bookstores are repositories of ideas and imagination in the form of books, things of deep emotional attachment to most people. While you'd expect to be impressed in a well-curated boutique of useful or fanciful goods, you should expect to be transported and moved to own (and be owned!) in a well-curated indie bookstore. You don't get that in a warehouse or online.... 

I hope that the experience she describes applies to people who visit the Knowlton Gallery... or any good gallery. 

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