Larry Portzline, the founder of the grassroots movement Bookstore Tourism, announced yesterday that he plans to embark on a ten-week trip to visit independent bookstores across the country. As part of the Why Indie Bookstores Matter Tour, Portzline plans to visit two hundred independent bookstores in all fifty states and ask owners, booksellers, and customers a single short yet important question: "Why do indie bookstores matter?" He'll then post updates, photographs, and podcasts of his interviews on the Web site www.whyindiebookstoresmatter.com .
Portzline founded Bookstore Tourism in July 2003 when he organized a bus trip for forty-five book lovers from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to New York City, where they patronized independent bookstores. He's been organizing similar tours ever since. For the Why Indie Bookstores Matter Tour, which will start on April 1, 2008, Portzline plans to drive across the continental United States and fly to Alaska and Hawaii.