Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SoL 6.24.14 Thinking About Indies

Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

I want to celebrate and write a little something about independent bookstores.  I love the smell of a bookstore.  Walking into a bookstore and that first sniff makes me feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be.  Kind of like home.  When I walk into a bookstore, I feel myself want to slow down and take my time.  At the same time my fingers start itching.  I need to hold a book.  I love the visits when I have all the time in the world just to look over a stack of books.  Make decisions about what to buy and what to hold off on for the time being.  
When you go into an independent bookstore, I feel like the people that work there really have your best interests in mind.  They want to help you.  They're ready to help and guide and recommend.  They took the job there because they probably love books.  There's a sense of simpatico with them.
Independent bookstores are getting harder and harder to find.  I always pause with sadness when I see one that has been closed.  In the Chicagoland area we have a few indies, but they are not very close to me.  There are times when I have to visit Barnes and Noble or even order from that store on the internet that shall not be named!  I try to go to our indies when I can.  Lake Forest Bookstore was the first indie I went to in our area.  The ladies there were so helpful and genuine to both my daughter and me.  My daughter loves going to their children's section, getting a stack of books and finding a good spot to sit and go through them.  I recently went to The Bookstall and the kind people there helped me leave with a box instead of a bag.  And a little over a week ago, I finally went to Anderson's Bookshop.  I've purchased books from there many times, just never at their store.  I've purchased from them at the Illinois Reading Conference, the International Reading Conference and more recently, at their fantastic Children's Literature Breakfast.  But this was my first visit.  It's over an hour away from my house and by the time we got there we only had about 35 minutes.  My daughter and I power shopped and left with two bags and several positive interactions with their workers.
I'm lucky that I have a few indies in the area that I can visit when there is time (I have time???).  Not everyone is as lucky.  During the school year I don't always have that time to  drive a ways out and then I do have to get my books elsewhere.  I will always try to shop indie when I can.  I don't leave big named bookstores with that same feeling of contentment that I do when I've "shopped locally".  Thank you to all the independent bookshops out there that keep us nerdies with our book fix!
Do you have a good indie story?  I'd love to hear it!


  1. Part of my slice today takes place at The Book Stall. It's a great bookstore. Unabridged in the city is my other favorite. We're definitely lucky to have such great bookstores in and around Chicago.

  2. Great post! Indies are wonderful!! I've always wanted to go to Anderson's Bookshop. Some day! In Cincinnati, my fav indie is The Blue Manatee, an adorable little children's bookstore. They invite in amazing authors and illustrators. If I wasn't a teacher, being an indie bookstore owner would be my other dream job. ;-)

  3. I order from Anderson's too, & get their e-mails. Would love to visit them sometime. We have several wonderful indies in Denver, The Tattered Cover and The Bookies (caters much to teachers & education). And I have several favorite Indie used bookstores. I find I have to stay away or up goes the bill, but sometimes I just can't NOT go. My latest 'find' was on my way home from All-Write in the Minneapolis airport & found a small "Authors" bookstore-what a great layover it was. Thanks for your tribute, Michele!

  4. I have always said that Yankee Candle needs to make a bookstore scent! Wouldn't that be great! I wish I had an Indie around me...B & N is an hour away! We used to have a few but they couldn't survive! Sad...

  5. I love the smell of a bookstore, too . . . and you're right, it means "home" to me. I've visited a lot of the stores mentioned in the comments, each has a special memory for me. Thank you for sharing.