Sunday, August 20, 2006

In Praise of the Independent Bookstore

I hate to shop. I know that puts me in the minority of most women, but I just don't like crowds or trying to find parking places or wandering around shops looking for bargains or sales or that perfect little strappy sandal. Blech. That's why I do most of my shopping on-line. I can sit in the comfort of my air-conditioned house, take my time finding what I want without worrying about my energy giving out, and I can usually find a huge selection of almost anything I want.

However, yesterday I went to Brooke's Book Stop, a small book store owned by one of my friends in Southern Magic, to deliver some posters for a book signing I'm participating in on Sept. 2nd, and I have to say, it was magical to enter a store where books are so obviously and lovingly displayed for the world to see, buy and enjoy. It's been a while since I've been in a physical book store. I'd forgotten the aesthetic pleasure of seeing all those books gathered in their pretty little rows. I'd forgotten the way books smell, like imagination and magic.

The proprieter, Jennifer, is a bibliophile who opened her store because she loves books and loves writers. That love is evident in her attention to detail. For instance, it's two weeks away from the book signing, but she already has displays of the books that the authors will be signing, set up in a prominent part of the store. And from the vast rows of colorful paperbacks that greet you as soon as you step into the store, it's obvious that Brooke's Book Stop is a big supporter of romance and women's fiction. You just don't get that from the big chains anymore.

Enough cannot be said about those scrappy little independent book store owners whose attention to detail and love of books makes shopping there a pleasure and a treasure.

Do you have a favorite book store? What makes or breaks a book store for you?


Carla Swafford said...

I'm like you, Paula. I hate shopping (when you've gone years without extra money, you become very tight with it when things get better). Book stores have been the only shopping I've liked, but the neighborhood book store has done by the wayside in Birmingham. Back in the seventies, there was a small bookstore I loved to go to in Roebuck. I spent hours in there and they didn't get worried I was about to rob them. ::g::

Carla Swafford said...

It still bothers me when a book store won't place new releases in a section to itself. Or won't include romances in the new releases. Or have the romances in a far back corner like it's something to be ashamed of. Or have two long stacks of shelves for mysteries and only one for romances.

BTW, I'm one of those pesky customers that talk to other customers in the Romance section. I'm always promoting our chapter, luncheon or conference. And recommending our SM authors.