Happy Independent Bookstore Day 2020!
In a year filled with turmoil, separation, and general uncertainty, I invite you to support your local independent bookstore. Books offer a path for us to learn about people and places all around the world (and beyond!). Independent bookstore owners make it their life’s work to bring words to their community, even creating fellowship among the writers and readers who walk through their doors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many retailers, indie booksellers among them. Before you make your quick click on Amazon (and I know it’s so easy and tempting… 2-day shipping is life!), visit your local independent bookstore online to browse their virtual shelves. A bookstore owner can make personalized recommendations that just can’t be replicated by an algorithm.
Here are a few indie bookstores that are near to my heart.
The Prince Books, Norfolk, VA: The owner embodies gentle Virginia charm and will go out of her way to find out what you like to read and steer you to your next favorite read. If you’ve never had the pleasure of having a beloved auntie in your life, you will after you visit The Prince. Grab lunch at The Lizard cafe, located inside the bookstore. I highly recommend the Virginia Ham and Cucumber sandwich!
Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.: I always feel worldly and sophisticated when I browse through Politics and Prose. Their curated lists are particularly amazing (and available on their website). If you’re looking for community, check out one of their events or classes, all facilitated by professionals working in the literary industry.
Changing Hands, Phoenix AZ: This staple in the Phoenix literary community recently opened a second set of doors, along with a book bar serving adult beverages alongside prose. I only had a chance to visit a few times but their selection, commitment to socially responsible business practices, and kind staff (who gave ice cold water to this out-of-towner who walked to the bookstore in the 100+ degree heat…and learned her lesson) quickly won my heart and dollars.
Bookworks, Pacific Grove, CA: I had two children while living in nearby Monterey and anytime I had precious moments to myself, I beelined for Bookworks. Their selection is not huge, but the lounge is sunny, comfortable, and fully stocked with delicious pastries and coffee. Pick up a lavender latte and walk a few blocks down to Lover’s Point Park, overlooking the Pacific, with your new book in hand. Savor the wild, rocky coastal views, breathe in the salty air, run a hand along the spine of the perfect novel….You’re welcome.
Find your local independent bookstore at Indiebound, a network of indie authors and bookstores focused on building community among readers and writers. Or find out more about Independent Bookstore Day 2020, including registering for fantastic free virtual events. I’m going to check out the panel ALONE TOGETHER: Stories of Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19.
How are you celebrating your local independent bookstore?