October 30, 2013

Maryland: The Ivy Bookshop

The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore, Maryland is a great local indie bookstore that does a great job with all of my requirements for a good bookstore. The selection is awesome, the store has a great vibe with a beautiful set-up, and of course it's run by an owner who is a passionate and amiable book lover. I hope all of you reading this in the Baltimore area will make sure to visit this store and make it your go to spot for books!

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Facebook: The Ivy Bookshop
Twitter: The Ivy Bookshop
Last Bookstore: Politics & Prose in D.C.
Next Bookstore: Browseabout Books in Delaware

October 27, 2013

Washington, D.C.: Politics & Prose

I'm not even sure where to start when it comes to the famous Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. because it is just a plain awesome store. That's basically what it all comes down to. The store has tons of space both upstairs and downstairs and also has a coffee shop that is always packed. It's also only the second store I've been to across the country that has its own self-publishing machine. (The other being another famous store that I visited in Colorado: Tattered Cover.)

One of the things that Politics & Prose is probably most know for is the number of events they host every year. They host nearly 500 events a year!! That is a just a mind boggling awesome number. If your favorite author is doing any public speaking at all, it's a sure bet that Politics & Prose is one of his or her stops.

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to talk to and learn a lot from one of the store's owners Brad Graham and its senior book buyer Mark LaFramboise. Both are well springs of knowledge and clearly enjoy what they're doing. I had an awesome time visiting this store, and I'm so glad it's going to be in the book. 

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Facebook: Politics & Prose
Next Bookstore: The Ivy Bookshop in Maryland

October 26, 2013

Pennsylvania: Joseph Fox Booksellers

Joseph Fox Bookshop in Philadelphia, PA is an independent bookstores that reminds you just how awesome an indie bookstore can be. It's one of those historic stores that everyone who loves indie bookstores can tell you all about no matter what state they're from. (The store has been around since 1951!) Also, you might notice that the top picture below is a little bigger than I usually post on this blog, but that's because this dog is so freaking cute I can't stand it. 

I love this picture so much -- it was a feat to get it as this little puppy loves to run around! It's pretty common to hear of an indie store having a cat or two, but this was the only store on my tour that had a bookstore dog! He isn't there all the time, but it's a good bet you can run into him occasionally. An indie bookstore with an adorable and loving dog is a place I would spend a lot of time in if I lived nearby.

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Next Bookstore: Politics & Prose in Washington D.C.

New Jersey: Watchung Booksellers

Watchung Booksellers in New Jersey is a cool indie store that makes good use of its space. It's located in a really cute square right off of a NJ transit stop, too, which makes it one of the more convenient bookstores I've been to so far. On the day I visited, the children's area was packed because the bookstore was holding a little arts & crafts session with parents and children. Bookstores are so much more than just a place to buy books. They really are community building centers that we need to protect and preserve.

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Last Bookstore: Word in New York
Next Bookstore: Joseph Fox Bookshop in Pennsylvania

October 25, 2013

New York: WORD

Picking a bookstore to feature for the state of New York was a BIG challenge. Huge. Gigantic even. The state (not just the city!) is so lucky to have a lot of really great bookstores. I've also lived in New York for so long that it made it even harder for me to pick just one bookstore. I've spent lots of time browsing and hanging out at the bookstores I had to choose from. After much consideration and discussion with my friends in New York, we decided that WORD in Brooklyn would be the perfect choice.

Located in Greenpoint, WORD is the perfect neighborhood bookstore. New Yorkers always have to be smart and creative about how they use space since it's at such a premium, and this bookstore accomplishes this feat beautifully. It's a small bookstore, but it actually has so much more than you'd imagine. Most importantly, it does this without making you feel like you've walked into an episode of hoarders. It's beautifully done. And of course, a perfect neighborhood bookstore can't exist without an absolutely wonderful and intelligent owner which WORD definitely has in Christine Onorati.

Brooklyn, you're so lucky. Make sure this bookstore is your go to spot!

(P.S. - This is my first shout out to a store that is not going to be featured in the book, but I am so happy that my old neighborhood finally has a bookstore that I had to share! It just opened this summer, so all of you Astoria people, go to Astoria Bookshop and support them! Okay? Thanks. :) 

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Facebook: WORD Bookstores
Twitter: WORD Bookstores
Next Bookstore: Watchung Booksellers in New Jersey

October 24, 2013

Connecticut: R.J. Julia Booksellers

R.J. Julia Booksellers is a gorgeous store in Madison, Connecticut. I can't find one thing I don't like about this bookstore. It has an awesome vibe, a great YA and children's section upstairs, and it has a lot of bookstore recommendations written out by their booksellers in every section.  The store, which has been around for more than twenty years, also hosts an average of 350 events a year. Going to hear an author speak or get a book signed is an awesome thing to do, and it is most definitely something you can't do on Amazon! 

Long live independent bookstores! :)

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Next Bookstore: Word in New York

October 23, 2013

Rhode Island: Books on the Square

Books on the Square is a great independent bookstore in Providence, Rhode Island. Every store I go to gives me another glimpse into what I think makes up a great bookstore. Obviously the people who work in the bookstore are a priority for me, but there are also other little things you start to notice when you go into a lot of bookstores. Sometimes I like a certain display or a certain bookshelf arrangement. Sometimes I like the sounds and believe it or not, sometimes I even like the smell! Books on the Square has a really great display wall with indie bestsellers. Some of the stores I've been to also do this, and I always like it. There's just something about this store's display that really works for me. 

I'm sure you guys already know what I'm going to say about this bookstore, right? ;-) ...make sure you check 'em out!

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Next Bookstore: R.J. Julia Booksellers in Connecticut

Massachusetts: Porter Square Books

Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA is an indie bookstore that you will almost always find packed with people. Normally you might think this is a turn off when you're looking to spend time in a bookstore, but for this store it works out fine because you don't actually feel like the store is packed. It’s definitely a victory for a bookstore that stays busy if it you can walk in and not feel like you’re overwhelmed with too many people as you browse. Between the awesome cafe, the location, and all the great books to choose from, it really isn’t much of a surprise that Porter Square Books is a popular spot.

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Next Bookstore: Books On The Square in Rhode Island

New Hampshire: Water Street Bookstore

Water Street Bookstore in New Hampshire was a fantastic bookstore. What I loved most though is that it felt like the YA and children’s books had their own store! I loved the physical layout of the store and how everything was set up, but what puts this store as a definite thumbs up is that I left the store with a bunch of recommendations (based on what I like!) for books that I need to read.

Independent Bookstores are the place to go to discover good books that you can’t always find on a simple top 10 bestseller list.

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Last Bookstore: Longfellow Books in Maine
Next Bookstore: Porter Square Books in Massachusetts