Jeff Kinney, the man behind the astonishingly powerful Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, is leading the revolution.
That’s been the theory behind the bestselling author’s just-announced plans to open up an indie bookstore in tiny Plainville, Massachusetts. It’s been framed as a call-to-arms against Amazon in the wake of its strong-arming tactics in negotiating with the big five publishing houses, starting with (fellow giant) Hachette.
Take back the power, fight the system, and all that, right?
If Kinney’s stoking a counterculture, it’s to harken back to the past. In his Plainville shop, he imagines a cozy, well-worn space with old tomes and tea, frequented by locals and writerly souls. “A physical book has a heft, a permanence that you don’t get digitally,” says Kinney in an interview. “So our hope is that the bookstore will remain a vital, important part of communities across the country and the world.”
He’s not the only author to venture into the territory; others include the renowned Ann Patchett, who owns Parnassus Books in Nashville.
But they are few, notably because most published authors know the bottom line: increasingly slim profit margins and shuttered doors mark publishing’s recent history, with the closing of Borders, several branches of Barnes & Nobles, and smaller brick-and-mortar stores nationwide