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Carolyn Toll Oppenheim: Keep focus local when mentioning retailers

To the editor:

I thoroughly enjoyed the Feb. 11 guest column, “Paging through a life in literature,” about a wonderful book by local author Jules Chametzky. The column was written by a local former colleague and fellow professor at the University of Massachusetts, Michael Thelwell, who also happened to be a local publisher of the book.

So here we have a local author and publisher writing about another local author, in a local newspaper that emphasizes (to its credit) our local vibrant community and economy. Yet where does it tell us to buy this book? In one of the many local independent bookstores we are blessed to have all over this Valley? No, it refers the reader to Amazon.com.

I could not believe my eyes. In the Gazette, of all papers, that covers all of the wonderful local initiatives in the Pioneer Valley — a local paper we are blessed to have here (I do not take a daily local paper for granted in these times).

Please, next time assume an adult reader can find a book online without a free ad to remind them. Or even better, mention the many independent bookstores in our community who themselves pay for ads in your paper, who sponsor local authors readings all the time. Some of them are Broadside and Booklink in Northampton, Odyssey in South Hadley, Food for Thought and Amherst Books in Amherst and more. If we don’t support them, we could lose them.

Carolyn Toll Oppenheim


Editor’s note: While Chametzky’s book, “Out of Brownsville: Encounters with Nobel Laureates and Other Jewish Writers,” was available earlier at Valley stores, the author confirms the only way to buy it at present is through the online retailer. He is working with his publisher to get copies back into local bookstores.

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