We all know that the outlook for the economy is bleak as we enter the Christmas shopping season for 2008.  Many businesses are struggling this year, as we consumers are deciding the best ways to spend our hard-earned money.

I know many people who go to the mall and browse around until “something” catches their attention as the perfect gift.  This year, may I make a suggestion?  Try your local bookstore instead of the mall.

The book publishing industry is struggling this year right along with the automakers, clothing manufacturers, and others.  You can read a little about the ramifications of this at The Writers’ Group.

If, like me, you are a bibliophile, this is sad news.  One of the greatest disappointments to me when we moved to Owensboro two years ago is the lack of any independent bookstores.  In fact, the only bookstores here are two Christian bookstores – LifeWay and Family Christian – and a Books-A-Million.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a city with independent booksellers, please give them some of your business this Christmas.  If not, any bookstore will do.  Just buy books!  Authors, publishers, manufacturers, and sellers everywhere will thank you!

Magazine subscriptions are also on the decline, thanks to the economy.  Another great gift idea is a subscription to a new magazine that appeals to a friend’s interests or hobbies.

Another great gift idea is the gift of music.  Support independent artists, such as these.

So, before you head out to the department stores, consider your local bookstore.  Good books never go out of fashion, are always the right size, and can be read again and again for years to come!