A reader friend recently quipped that she wished someone would make her a punch card—like one of those frequent shopper cards, you know?—for all the independent bookstores she visits on her travels. She doesn’t really care what the reward is, she just wants the satisfaction of filling it up.
I get it. My own family is always googling local indies when we travel, because we love to hit up new bookstores when we can. Or at least I do, and my family is more or less happy to come along.
(Some favorite stores we’ve visited in the last 12 months: Read It and Eat, Chicago. Church Street Coffee and Books, Birmingham. Sundog Books, Seaside. E. Shaver, Bookseller, Savannah. McNally Jackson Books, Manhattan.)
And even when I’m not on the road, I still stumble across good things related to these stores. On social media, or in newsletters, obviously. But also books and merchandise—when I was browsing for a used copy of a certain title online last week, I was delighted to find a copy for sale by Housing Works Bookstore Café (pictured above), and snatched it right up.
I keep a long list (in my bullet journal, of course) of the independent bookstores I’d like to visit one day, and it’s so satisfying to be able to tick them off the list.
This weekend I’m visiting a favorite indie, the Novel Neighbor in St. Louis, for our What Should I Read Next LIVE event, so I’ve add independents on the brain this week. I have a zillion questions (as always) for its owner, Holland, about the behind-the-scenes from her point of view, and about how I, as a reader, can better support indies.
My list of bookstores to visit is already long, but—much like my burgeoning and impossibly-long TBR—I’m happy to add to it.
Help me build my list? Readers, tell us your favorite indies—and why you love them—in comments.