September 30, 2013

Iowa: Prairie Lights

Prairie Lights is a store in Iowa City, IA that does a little bit of everything. It has three floors, a ton of great events, a great cafe, and more importantly, it has staff who are very welcoming booklovers. These things are all a part of my recipe for a great bookstore.

I've said this before, but it’s worth repeating. A chain bookstore or Amazon cannot represent or be a part of a local community the way an independent bookstore can. Prairie Lights, in addition to featuring local authors, also features local artisans in its gift shop area.

And I've saved my favorite feature of this bookstore for last. I haven't seen this in any other store. They keep a binder filled with top 10 book lists of both staff and patrons. This is beyond awesome, and is a great way to be introduced to new books you might love. (It's the last picture at the bottom here.) If you’re ever in this store, take some time to give them your list, too! The best way to discover a new book will always be through word of mouth.

Facebook: Prairie Lights
Twitter: Prairie Lights
Last Bookstore: The Bookworm in Nebraska
Next Bookstore: Left Bank Books in Missouri

P.S. – If you guys are liking this Indie Bookstores of America tour, make sure to hit like on that Facebook button on the upper left corner of the website. Thanks, everyone! :-)

September 29, 2013

Nebraska: The Bookworm

The Bookworm in Omaha, Nebraska is a great all-around bookstore, but I have to give a special shout-out to its children’s section which takes up the whole basement level of this store. It’s fantastic!! From kids to Young Adult it has one of the best selections of books for this age group that I’ve seen.


Facebook: The Bookworm

Twitter: The Bookworm

Last Bookstore: Magers & Quinn in Minnesota

Next Bookstore: Prairie Lights in Iowa

September 26, 2013

Minnesota: Magers & Quinn Booksellers

First thing’s first: people in Minnesota are very lucky! They have a lot of independent bookstores to pick from, particularly in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. One of the hardest parts of making this book has been that I can pick only one bookstore per state. If I've missed your favorite store in your state, don’t take it personally! I probably love that store, too. Maybe I’ll have to do a second edition?!

If I lived near a store like Magers & Quinn, I’d be flat broke because I’d be there every day buying up stacks of books. This store is fantastic. It’s big, has a great vibe (you guys know how I feel about vibe by now!), and helpful booksellers. The shelves and shelves of books everywhere make this the best place to go when you want to walk into store and know they will have a book you’ll love.

If you come to this store with a book in mind, I guarantee it won’t be the only book you leave with as other books catch your eye. If you come without a book in mind, no worries, because you will still leave with books in hand.

Check this store out the next time you’re in Minneapolis!!

Last Bookstore: Zandbroz in North Dakota
Next Bookstore: The Bookworm in Nebraska

September 23, 2013

North Dakota: Zandbroz Variety

 Zandbroz Variety in downtown Fargo, ND is a unique store that is way more than likely to have the book you’re looking for. In addition to a great selection of books, in the back it has an awesome rare book room with tables and chairs, a booth, and a very cool wood bench.

Fargo felt bigger than I thought it would be, but that could be because I had just come from Pierre, SD and Casper, WY which are both so small! Either way, Fargo is a good sized city with a very entertaining and walk-able downtown which is where this store is located. No need to hit up any other bookstore but this one if you live in or are visiting Fargo, ND. Zandbroz has all you need!

Facebook: Zandbroz Variety
Twitter: Zandbroz Variety
Next Bookstore: Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Minnesota

September 21, 2013

South Dakota: Prairie Pages

You guys I REALLY liked Prairie Pages in South Dakota, and the owner Peggy was an absolute delight! Pierre, SD is very small, but any place that has a bookstore like this, with an owner who is clearly passionate about books and the people who buy and sell books, cannot be a bad place.

I really can’t say enough how much I enjoyed visiting this bookstore and hearing about the effort that goes into running this store. And I don’t just mean the hard work, because yes, running a bookstore is HARD work, but I mean the extra effort things like giving employees a chance to attend national or regional book conferences.  When you go into a store that has booksellers excited about books, you can’t help but leave with a book you’re excited about, too.

P.S. -- Don’t forget to notice the stuffed buffalo in the children’s section!


Last Bookstore: Wind City Books in Wyoming
Next Bookstore: Zandbroz in North Dakota

September 19, 2013

Wyoming: Wind City Books

Wyoming really is as pretty as you've heard it is. Driving from Montana to Wyoming was really beautiful. I don’t think I  realized just how vast and how empty it would feel between these two places! I was very thankful when I finally made it to Casper because when I’d passed a gas station 100 miles back, I hadn't realized it would be my last chance to gas up before hitting civilization again.

Casper, Wyoming is charming and so was Wind City Books. It’s a very cute small store on a downtown main street where a person strolling by could stop to look in the window and decide to come in because a book catches his eye. Every city, big or small, should have at least one store like this.


Facebook: Wind City Books
Next Bookstore: Prairie Pages in South Dakota

September 17, 2013

Montana: Country Bookshelf

Country Bookshelf is an independent bookstore located in downtown Bozeman, Montana. It’s the largest indie bookstore in Montana, and it's been around since 1957! This bookstore is yet another example of how and why indie bookstores will never die. It’s a bookstore that serves its community with a wide selection of books and when you visit the store, you feel like you’re visiting a place with knowledgeable and helpful booklovers who happen to sell the books, too. 

Amazon can’t do that. Barnes & Noble sells more toys than books these days, know what I mean? I’ve traveled to so many states, and what is amazing is that no matter how different the states and the bookstores are, these local independent bookstores all have one major thing in common. They all clearly serve, reflect, and represent their individual communities.

Amazon ain’t gonna do that, folks.

Facebook: Country Bookshelf
Twitter:  Country Bookshelf
Last Bookstore: Weller Book Works in Utah
Next Bookstore: Wind City Books in Wyoming

September 10, 2013

Utah: Weller Book Works

In the heart of Salt Lake City, Utah you can find Weller Book Works to satisfy any and all book needs. This huge two story store has everything you could possibly want and gives you plenty of space and comfort to spend your day browsing their large selection of books.

One thing I love about all these independent bookstores that you cannot find in the large chain stores or by logging onto Amazon is the amount of locally relevant books. I say locally relevant because a local section could be a book about the city or town a store is in, or it could be a section that includes all the authors who are from that city.

Weller Book Works is owned by fantastic husband and wife duo, Catherine and Tony Weller, who have running this bookstore down to an art. Each of them has their unique specialties and both can help you find whatever you need – whether it’s a rare book from their upstairs collection or today’s bestseller.

Facebook: Weller Book Works
Next Bookstore: Country Bookshelf in Montana

September 3, 2013

Idaho: Rediscovered Books

Downtown Boise, Idaho was much cuter than I expected it to be…even though I’m not exactly sure that I had any expectations of what I’d find.

Rediscovered Books just feels like it fits in perfectly with the vibe of the area. It’s a perfect size – not too small or too big – and the store even has a cute nook space in the back with a few chairs and a couch for book lovers to sit and mull over their potential book purchases.

I told you guys before that I haven’t had a bookstore yet that I haven’t loved and this store continues that trend. Check ‘em out and spread the word to anyone you know in the Boise area that this should be their go to spot for books!

Facebook: Rediscovered Books
Next Bookstore: Weller Book Works in Utah