October 10, 2014

Overheard in an Independent Bookstore

My local independent bookstore is one of my very favorite places. Redbery Books gives you something that a giant online store cannot: A sense of community and conversations with real people are just two examples.

Bev, the owner of Redbery Books has overheard many bookish conversations. Many of them, of course, have to do with why people love indies. Such as:

1. Less is more. I can shop in a big box store all day and not find as many books that I want to read as I do here. Indies can respond to their customers in a way online and bigger outlets can’t. 

2. By browsing, I find books that I didn't know I wanted to read. No algorithm can do that for me. 

3. I allocate time to shop an independent bookstore and find myself still there 30 minutes later. Not because I haven’t received good service but because I have.  I've talked books with other customers and booksellers who are readers and now have even more recommended reads. 

4. I have discovered local authors’ books.

5. I can walk out of the bookstore that moment with a bag of books. No waiting for shipping.

6. On the other hand, I can special order a book just as easily from the indie’s website as from any other online retailer.  It can be shipped for free in a couple of days or can be picked up at the store.  I don’t have to pay a membership fee for this service.

7. My indie, through tax dollars, contributes to the economic well-being of a community. 

8. My indie is a member of a community and gives back to the community in ways an online retailer can’t. They give to the arts and museums, service organizations, libraries, families in need and community events, They support organizations that encourage literacy.

9. At indies I can meet authors, go to story time with the kids, belong to the book club, and find out what is going on in my community.

10. The owners love me and are grateful for my business. 

Thanks to Bev Bauer for contributing to The Relentless Reader!

I hope you'll like Redbery Books on Facebook and consider ordering your next stack of reads from their website. (Free shipping!)

Tell me about your favorite independent bookstore in the comments below!


  1. I love indie bookstores, too! Just wish there were more of them in my neck of the woods. Most of ours are used bookstores - which I also love, but they're not so great for picking up a just-published book.

  2. I love this post...reading The Storied Life of AJ Fikry got me thinking about independent bookstores and the conundrum that they and readers face. For me, I'm a strictly electronic reader...I have to be in order to get all the reading done that I need to do. I've got 2 young kids and am able to sneak in small snippets of reading throughout the day with the e-reader and would not as easily be able to do this with a book.
    But, I want to be able to support local bookstores (particularly my local Anderson's Book Shop)...I know some stores sell electronic books, but my Anderson's isn't one of them. There's got to be a better way to integrate electronic reading with bookstores...because they both absolutely bring valuable (but, different) things to the table.

    1. The nice thing about ebooks is that you can buy from any Indie that sells them if you don't have them in your neighborhood. They just have to have a website. If you read on an iPad or android device, it's pretty easy to do. www.redberybooks.com and many other indies do have ebooks available from their websites.

  3. Free shipping is always a bonus especially when paired with the amazing service offered by an indie bookstore. Thanks for sharing Bev!

  4. I love my Indie bookstore Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh NC :) Great post!

  5. Our only true indie bookstore does by far and away a better job of connecting authors and readers than the Barnes & Noble stores do. Sure it's a lot of work to host author readings, and sometimes they fall flat, but sometimes you can set a couple of hundred books like our store did when Rainbow Rowell recently appeared.

  6. Wish I had any indie bookstore near me! I'm that person who stands in B&N and overhears people talking books and just joins their conversations. Usually parents and teens, of course.

  7. We have an awesome one called The King's English, but it's just a bit too far away for me to go often. I so much wish it was closer!

  8. I need an indie so bad.

  9. There is nothing so wonderful as a well curated bookshop. That is something the big guys can't offer.