Celebrating Independent Bookstores and their Contributions to the Literary World
Bank Square Books; http://www.banksquarebooks.com/
Bank Square Books has been a pillar in the Mystic downtown business community for over 20 years located on Main Street in the coastal town of Mystic, Connecticut. It is now owned by Annie Philbrick and Patience Banister. We all do what we do at Bank Square Books because each of us loves it. We enjoy talking to people about books. It gives everyone here immense pleasure when they can recommend a book to someone who later returns to ask that same bookseller for more suggestions because they loved the first one. As a front line bookseller you tend to develop relationships with your customers which are deeply gratifying. The philosophy is that we need the written word in order to educate ourselves in the world. If we rely solely on algorithms from on-line vendors that tell us what we would like to buy rather than personally talking with knowledgeable booksellers and people who have actually read the book, what will happen to the literary world? What will we be able to talk about? We need books to complete our education and keep us interesting as a human race. Customer service is the priority when it comes to bookselling. Independent bookstores are in the forefront of change with regards to sales tax fairness, shopping locally and independently.
The role of Bank Square Books in the community at large is huge and vitally important. We are situated on a large corner right in the middle of downtown and one of the only stores that stays open after 6 pm. We have spearheaded the shop local movement with the formation of a small business alliance with help from a Shop Local Grant from the New England Independent Bookseller's Association. Book sales are not only at the store; we also provide to local schools, libraries, and act as bookseller at many community organizations. Bank Square Books influences 25 book clubs in our community, including an active group that meets monthly right in the store.
We work hard and creatively to provide unique and diverse event programming both in our store and throughout our coastal area. We host in-store author events that are formatted as a discussion, hold fundraisers often tied to related non-profit organizations and host intimate, exclusive author dinners and luncheons for authors looking to build an audience in Southern New England. We see our store as a community hub, a place to browse, a place to ask for directions, a place to ask for local restaurant advice, a place where our customer service will be one of our most important assets.
Link to Interview with Annie Philbrick by John Valeri:
Bartleby's Books turned 22 this year and is located in the resort community of Wilmington, VT. The town has a sizable second home owner population which creates a heightened and diverse audience for author events particularly in winter and summer months. Bartleby's is situated in the center of downtown in a three-story building which we have worked to promote as a community center, hosting classes and offering space for healing practitioners on the upper floors. After suffering a devastating flood in August of 2011, Bartleby's is back open and newly renovated.
Books & Books is a renowned independent, locally owned bookstore with three locations in South Florida – Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Bal Harbour Shops -- plus stores in Grand Cayman, Miami International Airport, Westhampton Beach and the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.
A community of writers, readers, issues and ideas, Books & Books was founded by Mitchell Kaplan in 1982. Since that time, the store has become one of the most well-respected independent bookstores in the country. It's a local landmark and an inspiring gathering place for writers as well as readers.
Today Books & Books hosts an average of 60 author events a month, featuring presidents and Nobel prizes winners, athletes and artists, celebrities and poets. Books & Books is known for its carefully curated selection – from literary fiction to architecture, from limited-edition art books to current affairs, from young-adult novels to historical biographies...and everything in between.
Books & Books hosts reading groups, poetry groups, free workshops and lectures, and partners with many cultural, educational and charitable organizations to present special events at its seven locations.
The philosophy at Books & Books has remained constant throughout the years: it's about neighbors, books, history, quality, tradition and creativity.
The staff at Broadside Bookshop is dedicated to good books, personal service, and community involvement. The store has been a feature of Northampton's Main Street since it was founded by Bruce MacMillan in 1974. It began at half its current size, and grew steadily, expanding to its present layout in 1986. Bruce, who was a force for literacy and civility in the community and widely beloved, died in 2001 and the store is now run by three of his long-time employees. We've seen lots of change over our thirty-five years in bookselling; changes in the face of Northampton, changes in our own decor and merchandise, and immense change in the publishing industry. We've weathered it all, and we continue to thrive, thanks to our wonderful loyal customers and a progressive, enlightened community that understands what independent bookstores have to offer.
Hub City Bookshop; http://www.hubcity.org/bookshop/
The Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg, SC, is a revolutionary independent bookstore. With each book purchased at our store, we and our customers nourish new writers and help launch authors into the literary world. That’s because all proceeds from the sale of books fund creative writing education and independent book publishing in our home community.
Located in the heart of downtown’s Grain District, our store shares the ground floor of the landmark Masonic Temple with Little River Coffee Bar and Cakehead Bakeshop. From its windows you look out on historic Morgan Square, the city clock tower, and the statue of the victorious Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan. Operated by the non-profit Hub City Writers Project, the Hub City Bookshop specializes in new releases, regional authors, children’s books, literary fiction, history, and, of course, Hub City Press titles.
When you shop with Hub City Bookshop, you help send Spartanburg's best young writers to college. You help us publish beautiful and important new books. You underwrite creative writing workshops. You help create a cultural hot spot. You make our city a literary center of the South.
Founded in 1975 in Millerton, NY, Oblong Books & Music has become the anchor of independent bookselling in New York's Hudson Valley. With a second store opening in 2001 in Rhinebeck, Oblong has grown to serve a larger community of readers. The stores are owned by Dick Hermans and his daughter, Suzanna, both of whom have leadership roles in the New England Independent Bookseller's Association. In 2011 they expanded their Rhinebeck store to increase the visibility of children's books and increase available seating at author events.
Read about the individual histories of the different stores and check out the USA Today article featuring Oblong Books:
Porter Square Books is a fiercely independent bookstore in Cambridge, MA. We carry the best new books in all genres, magazines, literary journals, notebooks, and unique gift items. We host events (usually at least two a week) with local authors, debut writers, and literary stars, as well as a weekly story hour, two book clubs, and a monthly knitting and crafts circle. Online, our blog features news, articles, and reviews as well as author interviews and our Twitter feed is a constant stream of bookish goodness letting you know about new releases, goings-on in the world of books, and whatever else is on our minds that fits into 140 characters. The written word is a vital part of our culture and we're committed to making sure great books, in any format or media, get to the readers who want and need them.
Tattered Cover on Colfax Avenue, http://www.tatteredcover.com/
The Tattered Cover Book Store began as a small store with only 950 square feet of retail space and two employees in the Cherry Creek North district of Denver, Colorado, a literary cowtown. It has grown for more than 35 years into one of the premier bookstores in America, with three expansive locations in the greater Denver Metro area: on Colfax Avenue, south of City Park; in Historic Lower Downtown, near Union Station; and at the Highlands Ranch town center.
Tattered Cover is an independent bookstore with lots of nooks and crannies offering the intimacy and comfort of smaller bookshops; an ample supply of sofas, overstuffed chairs, and antique tables for lounging and study with a world-class newsstand in each location. Tattered Cover has decades of experience hosting LIVE authors, averaging nearly 400 authors, illustrators, and other special guests each year, including such noted writers and celebrities as Julia Child, Margaret Atwood, Presidents Obama and Clinton, Isabel Allende, J. K. Rowling, Joan Didion, Mary Oliver, David Sedaris, Frank McCourt, Joseph Campbell, Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, Hunter S. Thompson, Caroline Kennedy, Dave Barry, Ian McEwan, Annie Proulx, Amy Tan, Tobias Wolff and many, many more.
Owner Joyce Meskis is one of the great guiding forces of independent bookselling in the country and a stubborn advocate for the rights of readers, literacy and free expression in America. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards for intellectual freedom including the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award for the Protection of Free Expression given by the Thomas Jefferson Center in Washington D.C.; the PEN/Newman First Amendment Award from the PEN American Center in New York; The Privacy International Brandeis Award; the American Library Association Award for Free Expression; and The Author’s Guild of America Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community.
Tattered Cover sells books online and is proud to be a part of IndieBound: Independent Bookstores for Independent Minds.