Friday, August 21, 2009

What do YOU love most about bookstores?

What are some of your favorite things about bookstores? What do independents have that chains don't have? What do non-indie chains have that indies lack? (Don't be afraid to talk about the glorious wide aisles at Barnes & Noble--though I may not shop there nowadays, I certainly have spent my weight in gold there!)

Do you have a very favorite bookshop? Any treasured bookstore, past or present, that felt like home? Please share your stories here and let us over here at Avid find out what you value most in a bookstore shopping experience. We'll be using your feedback to help create our store--it is, after all, for the neighborhood and community, and finding out what you want will help us make Avid Bookshop a success.


newtomato said...

Our largest local independent bookstore has TONS of events. Besides readings & book clubs, there's live music, dance lessons, parties, even a cupcake bake-off. Usually I head over for some event, and browse the new-release table or the callouts, and inevitably find something irresistible.

Also, the callouts are so intelligent and honest - written by the passionate workers. And just like the tables up front, they really span the range of genres. The "popular" (i.e. pulp, etc) books are sort of at a side bookshelf nearby. Accessible but not lovingly displayed.

They also offer lots of signed copies of books well after the author has left. These have made awesome gifts.

I could go on and on...

Avid Bookshop said...

Thanks, newtomato! I saw on your Twitter profile that you're in Pasadena--is Vroman's the store you speak of, or do you have another spot in mind?

The plan is to host a LOT of events that aren't necessarily author-centric (but that all can be tied to books and reading).

I appreciate your taking the time to let me know your thoughts!

-Janet G.

newtomato said...

Yup, Vroman's. Have you been there? Pasadena actually has some small, specialized used bookstores as well. (One's just for cookbooks, and there's one for mysteries.) There's some other independent bookstores in neighboring communities, too.

I've had some downright miserable experiences with the big chains in the last year (Borders, I'm scowling at you!), that I've gone cold turkey. It all revolved around their "reward" cards and nasty, nasty management. blech.

Good luck to you with your bookstore!!

katelanfoisy said...

What I love most about Indie bookstores is that there is a sense that it's yours. There is one bookstore in London called Treadwells. It's an occult book shop but I love that they have wonderful wooden shelves and a a big comfy couch. I've always loved the coziness of the place. I think newtomato makes some good points on why their indie bookstore does so well. It's really about engaging the people around you. Treadwells has speakers, signings, and classes. My other favorite in NYC is Blue Stockings. They have a a little coffee bar in the store and tables where you can sit and read and sip coffee. That I find is always nice.

Good Luck!