Like most writers, my love affair with books goes way back.
As a child, I lived for the Scholastic Book Fairs at school, when I’d spend almost every penny of my allowance on books. In my teens, I hung out at a local used bookstore with a strong science fiction section, so I’ve read most of the classics of the genre.
As I got older—and burned out on the required reading of college—I stopped reading fiction until the Harry Potter series tempted me back. Since then, my to-be-read pile of physical books has taken over a corner of my room (after filling several bookshelves), and my hoard on Kindle is enough for several lifetimes.
In addition, unlike when I was in a cultural-desert as a child, I now have 5 libraries within easy distance. And I’ve visited every one.
One thing I haven’t discovered near my current home, though, is a good bookstore. Like many, while I love the convenience of Amazon, I’d also love to shop locally and do my part to delay Amazon taking over the world, in Pixar’s Wall-E “Buy n Large” style. *grin*
So I’m tickled beyond belief that my writing bestie, Angela Quarles, is opening her very own bookstore. (Let’s not think about how I’m also feeling bummed that I don’t live closer to her Mobile, Alabama location. *smile*)
Author Dreams: Working with Books
Many authors dream of working with books beyond just writing them. Some authors are also editors, and some are agents. Some are librarians, and some run bookstores. In fact, Angela’s not the only author who’s dreamed of owning a bookstore.
Famously, bestselling author Nora Roberts and her husband own Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland. Fans of her romance and futuristic (under her pseudonym of J.D. Robb) books travel from across the country to visit her store, where every one of her books still in print can be found on the shelves and customers might even catch La Nora herself in town.
Just a few years ago, beloved author Judy Blume and her husband opened a Books & Books location in Key West, Florida. Other author/booksellers include Emma Straub, Louise Erdrich, and Ann Patchett.
The Different Personalities of Bookstores
With Amazon and big box stores, convenience and price often weigh more heavily than the “vibe,” hangout potential, or community involvement of independent bookstores. But even with the special offerings of indies, not every bookstore is a haven for every reader.
What would your ideal bookstore include? Click To TweetSome independent bookstores have a reputation of being the store equivalent of literary snobs, not carrying many genre books. Or if they do, they’ll stock only the mega names that have crossed over to mainstream or commercial fiction, such as Nora Roberts or James Patterson.
Even those that carry mysteries, thrillers, or other genre stories often won’t carry romance books. I live in the Phoenix area, the fifth or so largest city in the U.S., and yet this map by Smart Bitches shows a void of any romance-friendly bookshops in the whole metro area.
What Makes a Bookstore Worth Visiting?
Contrary to all that, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama, will have its own unique vibe. Angela named her store in honor of her grandmother, Adelaide Trigg, who started the original shop of that name in 1941, and it stayed in operation until 1991.
As a USA Today bestselling author and winner of the 2016 RITA award from RWA for paranormal romance, Angela Quarles is determined to ensure her version of The Haunted Book Shop is genre friendly—even for romance.
In addition, she’ll be catering to authors and writers at her store, with writing workshops, a whole selection of writing craft and research books, as well as the usual book signings and readings (including an open-mic night). Beyond the usual, she envisions a consignment program for selling print books by indie authors and a writer-in-residence program with a space for writing that includes access to WiFi, printer, and a Keurig—and visibility to potential readers. *smile*
For readers, she’ll be hosting book clubs and date-night/group activities, like wine tastings and movie nights paired with books. A special reader lounge will offer comfy seating and provide space for events.
She’s scheduling her grand opening on the second Friday of October (Oct. 12th) to coordinate with the local LoDa Artwalk community event. Obviously, I’m excited for Angela, so I want to help her out with her dream! *smile*
Even if you’re not local to Mobile, here are a few ways to get involved:
- Let her know: What would you like to see in a bookstore? Do you have ideas for events, services, or fun things that would make you want to visit a local bookshop (or travel to one)? (Leave a comment below.)
- Donate to a GoFundMe to raise money for the redecorating of the space.
- Purchase items from an Amazon Wish List that she’ll be stocking in the writing room, readers’ lounge, and children’s area.
- Sign up for mailing lists to match your interests and keep up to date.
(Authors: Sign up to the “Author Events (as an attending author)” mailing list to hear about future offerings, such as the potential of managing signed books, etc.)
- If you’re an author, send swag! *grin*
Have bookmarks, posters, or other swag? You can send it to:
The Haunted Book Shop
C/o Angela Trigg
951 Government St.
Mobile, AL 36604
Do you have any great bookstore memories, and if so, what makes them great? Or if you have bad bookstore memories, what was bad about the place? What makes a bookshop perfect to you? Is it about the books in stock? The friendly and helpful employees? The store’s overall vibe, welcoming space, or personality? The events or special features? Share ideas and help Angela make this store a destination for readers and writers! *smile*Pin It