I adore independent bookstores. I’m lucky to live in the St. Louis metropolitan area that has not just one, but several. They cater to various tastes and have worked so hard to support authors. One of the bookstores that has been very supportive of the romance genre is Rose’s Bookhouse in O’Fallon, MO.
1# Independent Bookstores do not have to adhere to corporate policy.
Since independent bookstores own their own businesses, they can stock whatever they want, in whatever quantity they see fit. I’ve heard of independent bookstores that only sell women’s fiction, or stores that only sell science fiction. These stores can be arranged to be homey with comfortable chairs or even have a section for local self-pubbed authors. Have you ever seen a corporate bookstore with a cat roaming around? (Let me know if you’ve seen one.)
2# Trade-ins are possible in some.
I don’t minding finding a gem. Even if the edges are frayed. As long as the words are still there and I can read it, I’ve often found great used books at independent bookstores.
3# They are supportive of local authors—even if they aren’t a big name.
I’m not saying the corporate book stores aren’t supportive of local authors, but I’ve gotten a lot of help from the independent book stores. My first launch event was with an independent book store. Wendy Drew from Rose’s Bookhouse reached out to me and invited me to have an event with her. As a debut author, that means a lot to me. I’m not a big name, but she was willing to work with me.
4# They form a community in and of themselves.
Over the years, Rose’s Bookhouse has turned into one of the go-to spots in the Midwest for romance readers to find books and for romance authors to hold events. This forms a community-like atmosphere that benefits everyone. This past year has been amazing with author signings from so many historical, urban fantasy, and even erotic romance authors. For the second year, she will be hosting a Naughty & Nice event that will feature nearly ten authors (some of them local). The event is festive and fun. Not just another line up and get your books shindig. Last year sold out, and thanks to Rose’s, local readers will get a chance to meet and hang out with authors.
5# Works hard for the little man.
I’ve worked in both a corporate environment and for an independent business owner. What I’ve found is that working for the independent, I was part of that started small, but was growing and could be big someday. I was on the front line to make things better for the business as a whole. When I noticed how things could be improved to increase profits or bring more visibility to the company, they could be done. Not that you couldn’t improve corporate environment, but what I’m trying to say is that it’s easier to make changes to how an indie store is operated versus a corporate one.
Do you have an independent book store that you love? What makes them special?
Thanks to Shawntelle for stopping by the blog and sharing her love of indie bookstores. Whilst my giveaway for Kept is now closed, you can pick up bargain ebook versions of her books published by Piatkus Entice in the UK.