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Tag: Indie Bookstores

The Book Dragon Shop – Staunton, Virginia

The Book Dragon Shop – Staunton, Virginia

Staunton, Virginia, is a charming small town full of restaurants and boutique shops. But in 2019, the town was missing a much-needed staple: an independent bookstore. So when Sandra Cararo decided to turn a lifelong dream into a reality, the corner storefront that became The Book Dragon Shop was the perfect location.  “I really like the Staunton area and love going downtown,” Sandi told the News Leader when the shop opened in July 2019. “I wanted someplace that had a walking area and the…

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Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

I almost didn’t make the trip to Epilogue, a fantastic bookstore, café and chocolateria in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as I traveled through the region on a book tour. But what a mistake it would have been to skip past this gem of a shop.  An article by Sara Pequeno with Indyweek perfectly describes the vibe of Epilogue: A good coffee shop feels like an extension of your living room—a place to chat with friends or focus intently on work, where…

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Wise Blood Booksellers – Kansas City, Missouri

Wise Blood Booksellers – Kansas City, Missouri

Wise Blood Booksellers calls itself “Kansas City’s little independent bookstore inside a record store.” It’s a fitting – if a little conservative – description for this gem of a shop. Wise Blood consumes perhaps a third or so of the large retail space inside of Mills Record Company, itself offering a vast array of new and used vinyl. But note the use of the word “large.” It is indeed a big shop, and Wise Blood packs an impressive punch with its…

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Rainy Day Books – Fairway, Kansas

Rainy Day Books – Fairway, Kansas

While my previous post highlighted one of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area’s used bookshops, my next stop on the bookstore crawl took me to one of the region’s best shops specializing in new inventory. Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kansas, prides itself on promoting a Legacy of Literacy since it was founded by Vivien Jennings in 1975, making it the oldest indie bookstore in the KC Metropolitan Area.  When I visited, I was greeted right away by a friendly and helpful employee…

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Prospero’s Books and Media, Kansas City, Missouri

Prospero’s Books and Media, Kansas City, Missouri

Following a brief rainstorm, I pulled onto the block approaching Prospero’s Books and Media to find a rainbow whose end arched right into the shop. It was a perfectly fitting metaphor for the literary pot of gold that is this Kansas City, Missouri, institution.  Prospero’s opened its doors in 1997. The shop’s website shares its colorful history. Some excerpts:  Birthed on a bar stool less than 50 feet from its front door, Prospero’s fills an historic 1890 building originally housing a grocery…

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after-words – Chicago, Illinois

after-words – Chicago, Illinois

A busy long weekend in Chicago didn’t allow much time for bookstore exploring, but within walking distance of my Navy Pier venue was what is apparently one of downtown’s few remaining independent bookstores, after-words. And if I were only able to make it to one bookstore on my trip, this one did not disappoint. The two-story shop houses a vast inventory of over 70,000 new and used titles. Upon entering the shop, you’ll find mostly children’s books and poetry on…

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Book Notes – Pikeville, Kentucky

Book Notes – Pikeville, Kentucky

Since opening Pikeville, Kentucky’s Book Notes in the fall of 2000, owners Toby Weingarten and his mother, Glenda Hall, have seen a lot of local businesses come and go and the rise of online shopping and e-reading. But through it all – even a global pandemic that closed their doors for several months in 2020 – the small shop has persevered.  Located in a shopping plaza in the rural town, Book Notes is warm and welcoming, yet sparsely stocked while I was…

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Argo Books – Buckhannon, West Virginia

Argo Books – Buckhannon, West Virginia

Jon Benjamin never intended to open a bookstore. When the professional graphic designer relocated from the D.C. Metro area to his wife’s hometown of Buckhannon, West Virginia, he began teaching graphic design at the local college. Now, four years later, he’s operating one of the state’s newest book destinations: Argo Books. “When we moved here, I thought I’d try teaching – it’ll be fun,” he says. “But I was overwhelmed teaching fulltime.” It took a while, but once Jon found his…

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Old Town Books – Alexandria, Virginia

Old Town Books – Alexandria, Virginia

Located in the heart of historic Old Town Alexandria, the aptly named Old Town Books is a quaint, intimate general interest shop carrying a nice selection of carefully curated new titles. Founded by Ally Kirkpatrick, the shop began as a short-term pop-up in 2018 thanks to a local economic development program that helps new businesses get a start in available storefronts. The venture was a success. Six months in, Kirkpatrick had hosted several books events, developed fruitful local partnerships, and…

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The Company of Books – Alexandria, Virginia

The Company of Books – Alexandria, Virginia

One of the D.C. area’s newest offerings is The Company of Books in Alexandria, an impressively stocked used shop that opened its doors in 2020 and operates as a non-profit organization, relying on a couple of paid staff members and dedicated volunteers for its day-to-day operations.  The store was founded by Donald Alexander, the former owner of Book Bank, in an attempt to create a neighborhood space for literature. When first deciding to open the shop, Alexander put out a call on…

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