November 4, 2013

Independent Bookstores of America!

Hi Everyone,

Below I have created an index to all 49 bookstore blog posts.  On each post you can find all the bookstore's website, Facebook, and Twitter links. The list is also a quick at-a-glance of which stores will be featured in the final book. Share it around, take a look, and the next time someone claims his state doesn't have any independent bookstores anymore, show them this page and prove they're wrong!

Thank you all so much for following me on this bookstore tour these last months as I continue to work to create this Independent Bookstores of America coffee table book. The first couple stages are officially finished! I'm so grateful for all the support I've received from so many people. From all you beautiful book loving people who supported the IndieGoGo campaign to all the new friends, blog followers, and bookstore owners I've met over the last few months during this bookstore tour -- I could not have done this without all of you. 

Total Miles Driven: 18,821
Indie Bookstores Photographed: 49 
States visited: 48
Months on the road: 4+
Total # of times I give thanks for all of your support: 1,000,000,000 (and only grows each day)

As for questions about Hawaii and Alaska, well maybe one day it'll be in the budget, and we can add them in. :-)

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again.


P.S. -- If your favorite indie bookstore didn't make it into the book this time, I am really sorry. I promise the hardest part of this project was narrowing down the bookstores to only one per state. There are many more out there that I truly love. Thank goodness, right? Long live bookstores!

Alabama Page and Palette
Arizona Antigone Books
Arkansas WordsWorth Books & Company
California Green Apple Books
Colorado Tattered Cover
Connecticut R.J. Julia Booksellers
Delaware Browseabout Books
Florida Books & Books
Georgia FoxTale Bookshop
Idaho Rediscovered Books
Illinois Anderson's Bookshop
Indiana Big Hat Books
Iowa Prairie Lights
Kansas Rainy Day Books
Kentucky The Morris Bookshop
Louisiana Garden District Bookshop
Maine Longfellow Books
Maryland The Ivy Bookshop
Massachusetts Porter Square Books
Michigan Nicola's Books
Minnesota Magers & Quinn Booksellers
Mississippi Square Books
Missouri Left Bank Books
Montana Country Bookshelf
Nebraska The Bookworm
Nevada Sundance Bookstore
New Hampshire Water Street Bookstore
New Jersey Watchung Booksellers
New Mexico Moby Dickens
New York WORD
North Carolina Malaprop's
North Dakota Zandbroz Variety
Ohio The Book Loft
Oklahoma Full Circle Bookstore
Oregon Bloomsbury Books
Pennsylvania Joseph Fox Bookshop
Rhode Island Books on the Square
South Carolina Hub City Bookshop
South Dakota Prairie Pages Bookseller 
Tennessee Parnassus Books
Texas Book People
Utah Weller Book Works
Vermont Crow Bookshop
Virginia Fountain Bookstore
Washington Elliot Bay Book Company
Washington, D.C. Politics & Prose
West Virginia Taylor Books
Wisconsin Boswell Book Company
Wyoming Wind City Books

November 3, 2013

Florida: Books & Books

Books & Books in Miami, Florida was my last stop on this amazing Independent Bookstores of America journey. It is the 49th bookstore I've visited in a three month period. Clearly I have seen a lot of bookstores, but luckily I was smart enough to save one of the best for last. Books & Books is a south Florida treasure. Think that's cheesy talk? Well, you're right but you're also wrong because it is the TRUTH. This store, which has a few locations, is dead on awesome. 

The store featured in the pictures below is the original Coral Gables location, and this is the location that will be featured in the book. It's a gorgeous store with a beautiful courtyard and a way above average, absolutely excellent cafe. Mitchell Kaplan, who founded Books & Books in 1982, was nice enough to spend some time talking to me about the store and its history. As a Miami native, he definitely understand and knows his community which is reflected in the bookstores.

The best part of Books & Books is that it really feels like a loved community spot. The events this store puts on are numerous and fantastic. Cristina Nosti, Director of Events & Marketing for Books & Books, appears to have planning great author events and fun community events down to an art. She was an absolutely wonderful guide to learning about this store, and I can't say enough good things about her or Mitch.

The day I was there I saw a book club holding a lunch in one of the store's spaces, some parents enjoying the beautiful kids' section with their children, and a packed cafe with people from all over using this store as a place to meet up and hang out. While Books & Books may be historic and have a well-earned reputation for its greatness, it hasn't lost the local community feeling that one hopes to get with a good independent bookstore.

Books & Books is about an hour away (if I'm being generous with traffic) from where I live now, and I have to brag: I am one lucky bibliophile to have such an awesome independent bookstore not too far away.

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Facebook: Books & Books
Twitter: Books & Books

West Virginia: Taylor Books

West Virginia sometimes gets a bad rap, but Taylor Books in Charleston sure makes a strong case for it being a pretty great place. This great downtown local spot has a lot of books to choose from and a nice cafe where you can grab lunch and hang out for a bit, One of my favorite parts of this store was the explanation of why you should shop local written on the wall behind the cashier's area. You can see it in the last picture on the bottom here, but it says: You spend $100 local - $68 of it stays local.

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Facebook: Taylor Books
Twitter: Taylor Books
Next Bookstore: Books & Books in Florida

November 2, 2013

Virginia: Fountain Bookstore

Fountain Bookstore: another freaking awesome store that I'm way too excited to tell you about. I'm going to try though. Fountain Bookstore is located in downtown Richmond, VA and is owned and run by one of the coolest people I met on my Indie Bookstores of America journey, Kelly Justice. She has owned Fountain Bookstore since 2008 and been its manager since 2000.  

Things I loved about this store:
  • Its owner
  • Its great vibe, which no offense Richmond, I didn't know you guys could have. (And if you're in Richmond and only stick to the suburbs, you're doing yourself a disservice. Get to this store immediately.)
  • Its awesome online presence and skill at selling autographed copies of books.
  • The zero tolerance for book snobbery so that everyone who comes to this store feels totally comfortable and not intimidated by any 'indie bookstore' stereotypes they may have. (Full disclosure: That's a personal pet peeve of mine. I really hate book snobs. I just want everyone to love books. Period. End of story. :)
  • The bookstore soap 

Yep, you read that last one correctly. This is pretty much one of the coolest extra things I've seen in a bookstore. How many times have you gone into a bookstore and had an immediate reaction to how good it smelled? Well Fountain Bookstore captured its great scent and put it in a soap. 

And if you're still wondering why I mention the people behind a bookstore so much, it's because I truly believe they are what makes a bookstore awesome. Unlike a chain store where a manager or franchise owner may not have as much personal impact on a store, indie bookstores are completely shaped by their owners. And an awesome store is going to have an equally great bookstore owner behind it.

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Next Bookstore: Taylor Books in West Virginia

November 1, 2013

Delaware: Browseabout Books

Every beach needs to have a bookstore nearby! It just makes sense, don't you think? This is especially true if all the stores can be like Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. First of all, it's huge. Second, it's all bookstore on one side and then attached to it is another store with your typical beach needs. 

I happened to visit this store on Labor Day weekend so you can imagine that it was a popular day to be on the beach and near the store. Well, I loved this store and from all the beach visitors that stopped in, it was clear I wasn't the only one! All the booksellers I talked to were beyond great and really friendly and helpful. Plus with a store this big, you're definitely going to find a book you'll love. 

I left Browseabout Books with a great insulated beach bag that has the store's name and logo on it. Bookstore t-shirts, bags, and almost all other bookstore paraphernalia are going to be huge hits with me. Not anything I'd ever want if it was from a bookstore-chain-that-need-not-be-mentioned.

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Next Bookstore: Fountain Bookstore in Virginia