Sunday, October 16, 2011

We Are OPEN!!

By now you've probably noticed that we're really, really bad at updating our Avid blog. But we're pros at updating Facebook and Twitter, and we are doing pretty well at actually running a brick & mortar bookshop.

That's right:  after four years of planning and education and preparation and money-gathering, Avid Bookshop has opened at 493 Prince Ave. in in-town Athens. Please drop by!

This week we are open Sunday from 10:30-5:30 and again Tuesday &Wednesday from 10:30-5:30. We will be closed on Monday, Oct. 17 so that we can run lots and lots of errands to prepare for the grand opening weekend.

On Thursday we have our first-ever poetry reading--local poet Ida Stewart will be here to celebrate the release of her new book, Gloss.

On Friday, 10/21 we'll be open from 10:30 AM until late, because Friday the 21st is our Grand Opening Party Part I!  And on Saturday the 22nd we're having the Grand Opening Part II, which is a kids' party.  Come on down!

We're beyond thrilled to be here at last.  Can't wait to see you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bookshop lease now firmly in hand (via the Bookshop Blog)

I recently started contributing to a website called The Bookshop Blog.  My first post there is entitled "Lease Now Firmly In Hand" and talks about the odd timing of the last few weeks--I delivered my signed store lease the same day the Borders news was all over the national radio and TV programming.  Check it out here:

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Janet Geddis, Avid's owner, conducts monthly storytimes at Full Bloom Pregnancy & Young Parenting Center as well as at Arrow Space for Families.

Full Bloom Storytimes:
Every Wednesday at 4, Full Bloom hosts storytime.  Avid Bookshop helps out the second Wednesday of each month.  Come see us! This storytime is especially geared toward babies & their caregivers, but kids up to 7 will be entertained.

Full Bloom
220 N. Milledge Ave
Athens, GA 30601

Arrow Storytimes:
The first Wednesday of each month at 11:00 AM, Janet visits Arrow Space for Families (adjacent to Big City Bread Cafe) to read stories with the little ones.  The reading is especially geared toward infants & toddlers, but all kids and their caregivers are welcome.

393 N. Finley St., Studio D
Athens, GA 30601

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Borders closing ALL its doors after 40 years.

Well, it's really happening:  Borders Books & Music is shuttering its 399 remaining stores, including the one here in Athens in Beechwood Shopping Center on Alps Rd.

The Athens Banner-Herald posted this article today, and of course I decided to formally respond.  Here's what I wrote in the comments section.  Let me know what you think:

Some may be surprised to hear that even though I am a local, independent bookseller, I am saddened by our community's loss.  When Borders closes their 399 stores, approximately 10,700 booksellers will be jobless.  This is heartbreaking for them and for the industry at large.  Many of my friends and acquaintances here list our Alps Rd. Borders as one of their favorite places to hang out, and I feel sympathetic to them--it's hard to lose that "third place."

When Borders' woes were first made very public months ago, I wrote a piece for Beyond the Trestle about what it would mean if Borders were to go under--you can read it here if you're interested:

To answer to a few of the commenters above:  Athens will now be home to just two independent bookstores.  Jackson Street Books downtown sells used books, DVDs, and more.  They have a great collection of competitively priced used materials and antiquarian books.  Avid Bookshop, my store, is currently online and events-based only, but we are moving into a retail storefront on Prince Avenue in the coming months.  We sell both new and used books as well as cards, gifts, and locally-made gift items.

There's a lot of talk out there about the demise of books and reading, but the amount of hours people spend reading has actually remained relatively constant over the last many decades.  When the big box stores began to open all over the country in the early- to mid-1990s, many independent shops lost their customer base and went out of business.  But, time and time again in recent years, we are seeing that the big box stores are having a hard time getting a handle on the rapidly-changing industry.  Some--not all!--independent stores that are willing to alter their business plans and approaches to bookselling are actually thriving, and MANY independent bookstores have been opening in the last couple of years--the number of new indie stores rivals that of the number of new stores per year in the pre-big box days. This is great news for small business, local economies, and, most of all, people who love to read.

All this is to say that I am sad about the closing of Borders and the loss of jobs, but I don't think bookstores are dead.  If you value reading, it behooves you to go to a store you know and love, where you trust the booksellers' recommendations and feel comfortable.  For some people, that place will be Barnes & Noble.  For others, that was Borders.  And for many others (like me), I feel most at home in many of the locally-owned bookstores.  Not all are fabulous, but the ones worth your time are.   
Thanks for reading this long-winded comment!
Janet Geddis
Avid Bookshop LLC
Athens, GA

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders bankrupt; Athens location is safe (for now)

A few weeks back I wrote a short piece over at Beyond the Trestle about why I didn't want the Borders chain to fail. For many moons now, Borders Group has been facing seemingly insurmountable troubles, and today they declared bankruptcy. They have an action plan, though, and hope by shuttering about one-third of their stores (the 200 that are reportedly causing them to lose MILLIONS of dollars) they can save the company at large as they restructure.

I'm not very hopeful that they'll be able to hold on much longer.

The Athens store is a busy, bustling one, though it's never easy from the outside to know if even the busiest-looking retail outlets are indeed profitable. For now, I'm grateful that the acquaintances and strangers at our local Borders have not lost their jobs, benefits, and insurance. That's right: the Athens location is NOT on the list of closing stores. Goodness knows Athens doesn't need any more unemployment.

What consumers must keep in mind is that the death of some bookstores does not at all predict the death of all. Borders' business model is COMPLETELY different from independent bookstores' business models. The buy local initiatives in our country are increasing rapidly, bringing more dollars to our locally-owned businesses (and therefore funneling more money into the local economy). The sheer number of books out there can be overwhelming; it's comforting and necessary to have a book expert at your local store who can help you find the book YOU want to read, not the book all the chains are pushing that week or the book that Amazon's mystical logarithm thinks you want. And you know nothing beats browsing the aisles of a funky, unique bookstore!

Today the American Booksellers Association, the trade association for independently-owned bookstores, released a statement that pretty much sums up how I feel about the situation. They also talk about the successes of most indie booksellers as well as the growing number of us out there. Please read it here.

Note: This piece also appears at Beyond the Trestle.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A reflection on the Unchained Tour...and some news!

Writer Lila Allen had this to say about getting on board with the Unchained Tour this past October. I echo many of her sentiments. I didn't get to tour with the group, but I was able to play a major role in the planning of the tour (and of course helped coordinate the fabulous events in Athens on October 20th!).

Here is Lila's piece.

And here's a little teaser for you, too:  the Unchained Tour might be rollin' back through in a few months.  I know all those who attended round one will be back along with the hoards of people who weren't able to make it to the first show.  I'm very much looking forward to this!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We Are Athens Discussion Group meets 3/9/11 @ Hendershot's

Next book selection for March 9 We Are Athens discussion group: The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition by Michael H. Shuman

"Defenders of globalization, free markets, and free trade insist there's no alternative to mega-stores like Wal-Mart; Michael Shuman begs to differ. In The Small-Mart Revolution, Shuman makes a compelling case for his alternative business model, one in which communities reap the benefits of 'going local' in four key spending categories: goods, services, energy, and finance. He argues that despite the endless media coverage of multinational conglomerates, local businesses give more to charity, adapt more easily to rising labor and environmental standards, and produce more wealth for a community. They also spend more locally, thereby increasing community income and creating wealth and jobs. The Small-Mart Revolution presents a visionary yet practical roadmap for everyone concerned with mitigating the worst of globalization."

Search for it on 
our full-service website, where you can find virtually any book in print (as well as DVDs and music!).

Discussion Group Meeting Will Be Wed., March 9 @ 7PM

All are welcome to attend the We Are Athens discussion group Wednesday, March 9, 2011 from 7-8:30 PM. We will meet at Hendershot's Coffee & Bar, 1560 Oglethorpe Ave (at the Loop). 

Reading the book is NOT required!

While we encourage you to at least be familiar with the concepts presented in this book, reading the book is not a prerequisite.  Come ready to discuss the themes and ideas presented in Small-Mart Revolution (& listen to what others have to say). Our meetings are open to any attendees, a space for free speech and healthy exchange. Discussion is always lively. Please join us!
Visit for links to our new & used online stores.

We have lots of copies of Small-Mart Revolution at our webstore (, and we'd be most appreciative if you bought from us or checked your book out of thelibrary.