Conquest Books – Ashland, Kentucky

Conquest Books – Ashland, Kentucky

A joint venture between entrepreneurs in downtown Ashland, Kentucky, is creating a haven for lovers of artistic works. Talmadge Callihan and Brittany Stevens, owners of the newly opened Conquest Books, share space with building owner Bri Reynolds’ The Jewel art gallery, creating a unique artistic experience unique to the city. “We’ve started out really small,” said Stevens. “We started out with only one shelf. We’re kind of trying to grow with our customers.” And grow they have. Conquest Books, which…

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Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia Revisited

Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia Revisited

After a year of traveling West Virginia and visiting its many independent bookshops – talking to booksellers, writers, customers, and gathering the unique story of each shop – Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia was released into the world in December 2019 as a celebration of the Mountain State’s thriving indie bookshop culture. In addition to profiling each shop in the state, the book features contributions from many familiar faces in the state’s literary and bookstore scene, discussing what indie shops mean…

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Fuzzy Dog Books & Music – Charles Town, West Virginia

Fuzzy Dog Books & Music – Charles Town, West Virginia

It was quite by accident that I happened upon Charles Town, West Virginia’s Fuzzy Dog Books & Music when I was writing Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia back in 2019. I was traveling through the region checking out other shops when I discovered what was then a brand new store specializing in used books and vintage vinyl.  Shop owners Sara Anderson and Robert Wiles created the perfect marriage of books and records when opening the store in their original location in March of…

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Point of the Heart – Wheeling, West Virginia

Point of the Heart – Wheeling, West Virginia

“Would you like to know the secret of the shop?” asked a voice when I stepped inside Point of the Heart in Wheeling, West Virginia. My eyes then landed on Sandra Baker, who opened the small used bookstore earlier this year. Sandra proceeded to give me the quick tour of the small store, pointing out the various genres in her inventory, from the expected (contemporary fiction, mysteries) to the somewhat unique for such a small shop (aging, ancestry, self-help and…

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Vigilant Books – Wheeling, West Virginia

Vigilant Books – Wheeling, West Virginia

Vigilant Books in Wheeling, West Virginia, has had quite the journey during its relatively short time in operation. Owner Chuck Wood originally purchased an old firehouse in town with plans of opening his secondhand bookshop there, but the cost of needed repairs was simply too high. He then landed at his Market Street location in the fall of 2019, only to be forced into closure the following March for fifteen months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His persistence, however, has…

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The Book Case – Connellsville, Pennsylvania

The Book Case – Connellsville, Pennsylvania

The Book Case in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, is a quintessential roadside bookshop specializing in gently used books in a variety of genres.  The shop labels itself a classic used bookstore, and I would agree. While small, it packs an impressive inventory into a tidy and well laid out space.  The store has been serving the Connellsville area since opening in 2002 and carries fiction, biography, classics, romance, mystery, and more, including new books by regional authors. The Book Case is located…

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Second Chapter Books – Ligonier, Pennsylvania

Second Chapter Books – Ligonier, Pennsylvania

There isn’t an inch of wasted space inside Second Chapter Books in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The bookshop and boutique is brimming with unique gift items and an impressive selection of books spanning the genres. Located in the bustling little town of Ligonier, Second Chapter is a quintessential small-town shop that, at least on my visit, was luring in a steady stream of visitors with its cheery curb appeal and varied blend of items. In addition to the books, you’ll find artwork, candles, bath…

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The Book Center – Cumberland, Maryland

The Book Center – Cumberland, Maryland

In all my bookstore explorations to date, I may have found a first with The Book Center in Cumberland, Maryland. In addition to a nice selection of books on the shelves, the shop doubles as a premier cigar and pipe tobacco retailer.  The more I thought about it, the more of a natural fit it seemed, conjuring images of Sherlock Holmes in his wingback chair, smoking a pipe and poring over a dusty old leatherbound volume.  The family-owned shop began more than…

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The Bookworm – Lemoyne, Pennsylvania

The Bookworm – Lemoyne, Pennsylvania

Sam Marcus, proprietor and “book guru” of Lemoyne, Pennsylvania’s The Bookworm Bookstore, has been selling books for decades. Having served the Harrisburg area for more than 40 years, the shop prides itself on being “your personal bookstore.”  If my encounter with the friendly staff at this neighborhood shop is any indication, it’s a title they’re living up to. Truly a family business, Sam, his wife, son, and daughter are all apparently regulars behind the counter at The Bookworm.  Don’t let the…

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Webster’s Bookstore Café – State College, Pennsylvania

Webster’s Bookstore Café – State College, Pennsylvania

Webster’s Bookstore Café in State College, Pennsylvania, is technically multiple businesses in one. In addition to its large inventory of mostly used books (with select new and local titles) and the café’s food and beverage menu, the large space is also home to Stax of Trax records and Tiger’s Eye Vintage. That means shoppers can grab a book, a coffee, some classic vinyl, and a vintage outfit all in one place. Although there are ramped and street-level entrances nearby, I entered…

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